1526 South Wabash
Chicago, IL 60605, U.S.A.
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“When the Body Speaks"
Inside of sculpture, printmaking, and drawing I investigate a state of transformation, metaphorically and literally through process and materials. By working within a set parameter of alteration, reformation, abstraction and transformation, I am able to question recognizable and subconscious states of being. These questions presented in my work deal with our expectations relative to form and deformity involving the human body, and engage with familiar features of form such as proportion, scale, interior, exterior, texture and color. Because the human form can be both beautiful and grotesque at the same time, using the body as a source for my work directs me to interrogate issues specifically regarding relationships we have with the body. More specifically through sculpture, printmaking, and drawing I am investigating my relationship with the structures and systems of the body such as skin, cells, organs, digestion, reproduction, etc…
The primary material focus of my sculpture is that which are inherently associated to the body and moreover possess a visceral, tactile, and sensual quality. Currently I utilize recycled clothing as a material source since it directly implies the essence of figure. Essentially articles of clothing mimic the forms and characteristics of the body. By employing a material such as articles of clothing, I am able to question a different understanding of the expectation of the existing objects and materials. The final works become abstractions of representational figurative sculpture. Through this mode of process and transformation the sculptures are located in a place fluctuating between identified and non-identifiable objects.
Recently my work involving the body has become political. The questions leading me to create these pieces are constituted from my interrogation of concepts such as; what is our body’s direct and indirect relationship to our environment, and how does the media and government have control of/over our bodies? Examples of these pieces include Habeas Corpus which gives a voice to the civil rights of the body, and Labiaplasty, which exposes the media’s ideals of the body. Suppuration is a discourse regarding the 2010 BP Oil Spill. This work directly connects the body with the oil spill tragedy through a society wearing clothing made from synthetic fibers, which are derived from petroleum polymers. Made from biodegradable cornstarch packing peanuts, Colony Collapse, is a shrine dedicated to the bees who were dying from a viral/fungal disease. This environmental link to the body is about our awareness of how of natural resources are consumed.
My process of direct printmaking on paper with fruit and ink led me to discover a basic, raw, and primary nature of creating work. Working with fruit as a material evoked questions regarding origin of cycles and phases. Utilizing fruit such as limes, grapefruits, tomatoes, apples, bananas or peaches as a material source captures the essence of the fruited body and transforms them into narratives of cellular cycles, phases, or generation. These works are a direct documentation of the lime, grapefruit, tomato, apple, banana, and peach as symbols of the cell.
Nonetheless, transforming familiar objects into sculpture, printmaking and drawing creates an unfamiliar form by locating a new figure in a state of uncertainty. For example, my series of blind contour drawings, Units Of Two Corresponding Parts, based upon pairs of shoes or gloves, produces abstractions with relation to the body’s appendages, specifically our hands and feet. These drawings expose the essence of hands and feet by capturing their gestures. Joining familiar articles of clothing together entitles the newly formed body to exist in a place only art is privileged to. These joints create new and unexpected material relationships. The moment of connection between familiar forms is climacteric to the transformation of the original intention of the materials.
After graduating from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, in 1997, I returned home to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago where I earned an MFA, 2002. Currently I own a small business and live in Chicago’s South Loop. At my gallery, Framing Mode & Gallery, I curate local art exhibitions, and manage a full service custom frame shop. My art studio is on the 4th floor of The Bridgeport Art Center where I am active in a local arts community. I have been showing work for the last 15 years in group shows around Chicago and the Midwest. Some highlights from the past few years have been: Dittmar Jan 2012 “When the Body Speaks” South Suburban College, Markham, IL August 2011; Art Loop Open" Chicago, IL October 2010; “S.O.S." Bridgeport Art Center, Chicago, IL, September 2010; ” Installation Nation" Primary Colours, Indianapolis, IN June 2010; "Kinsey Institute Juried Show" Bloomington IN, Summer 2009"; The Emotional Body" Womanmade, Chicago, IL, May 2009; "For A Limited Time Only" The Art Center Highland Park, Highland Park, IL, March 2009; "The Artist Project" at Art Chicago, IL, April 2008.