Nature inspires the creation of my mythical, quasi-narrative artworks. Each work encapsulates a memory of my world at that time. The stories are somewhat ambiguous as they represent personal experiences. The characters are typically anthropomorphized animals and bugs. I research the different meanings of spirit animals across different cultures and let the outcomes influence the choice of animal. Animals always have two sides of meanings, both positive and negative. In my work I like to leave mystery of exactly what each animal is meant to represent. I play with the different dualities that elude to a story. Dualities that deal with nature and human experience including reoccurring themes of life and death, love and hate, hope and despair, openness and guardedness. I let my art develop and change overtime with every new person I meet and every adventure I begin. Yet I still let my art remain abstruse allowing viewers to deduce their own meanings of my world.
This thesis series, (un)sheltered, straddles the notion, often built by society, about constructing external walls, both physical and mental, and deconstructing walls. Reoccurring themes of containment occur through different cages. The idea of a cage goes further than just a welded steel cage or rib cage. A chrysalis, a quiescent insect pupa, becomes a strong metaphorical cage throughout many of the works. In The Ruiner, a chrysalis hangs at the top of a tower with an alligator lurking below. The identity and intentions of the alligator remain unclear. The chrysalis shines like gold from the polished bronze that it was made. Gold becomes another common thread between my works and is meant to represent hope, new beginnings, or new adventures.
Emergence from the World You Built explores another story and use of shelter. A cast bronze cicada shell stands empty at the top of a ceramic tower stacked on the back of a turtle. The turtle as a symbol of the world is very iconic throughout different cultures. The empty cicada exoskeleton, a species which only leaves its casing, juxtaposes ironically with the turtle, whom has the choice to protrude or recede within its biological container. Gold accents the cracks in the vessel, while two-dimensional cicada motifs remain, both serving as a memory of what was.
Two works that incorporate welded birdcages are Lament the Confines and Break these Fabricated Bounds. A dead bird lays within the enclosed birdcage in Lament the Confines contrasted by a virtuously styled bird busting through in Break these Fabricated Bounds. While the moral of the story seems obvious I invite the viewer to really consider as humans the need to build cages and build walls.
Whether it is a chrysalis, rib cage, steel cage, turtle shell, or cicada exoskeleton there are many advantages and disadvantages to being, having, or seeking shelter. I encourage the viewer to interpret the overall message from each sculpture and allow them to create their own impression of my world.