My practice deals with paradox and its reconciliation through a transcending act or form. Focusing on the contradictions of the human spirit and the society we have built, I work with the conflict between desire and fulfillment, vulnerability and courage, futility and possibility. The impracticality of obsolete technology informs my craft. I have learned several labor intensive pre-industrial processes including tintype photography, primitive ceramics, and traditional African earth architecture. I use these techniques because I am drawn to the tension between fine craft and entropy that arises from the struggle of making with unpredictable results.
NEW WORK- FARM ECSTASIES
Farm Ecstasies is inspired by a belief in medieval christianity that women were more sensitive spiritual mediums, especially to the sacred experience of divine possession. This view gave women both mystical power and harnessed them to submission, a position that blurs ideas of feminism with patriarchy. These tintypes explore the simultaneous power and vulnerability of the female body, and its complex inner mechanisms of defiance, distance and spiritual flight.
In Homeland, I drove 15,000 miles across the U.S. taking Wet-Plate Collodion portraits of people living off-the-grid. I photographed where people were re-visioning society in the midst of large scale deterioration: in blighted cities like New Orleans and Detroit, in squatted desert communities, on boats moored in industrial canals. This project focuses on the growing social movement of DIY-ers, punks, squatters, and activists who have rejected the luxurious monotony of mainstream society to achieve the independence of self-sustainability.
With The Miss Rockaway Armada, I floated down 1000 miles of the Mississippi river on a raft built from detritus scrapped from NYC and powered with modified diesel car engines. The collective stopped in towns along the way to engage with locals through workshops and performances. Following on the tails of American legends like Huck Finn, the MRA confronted entrenched norms about culture and life by creating an improbable universe of whimsy and spectacle.
“Suitcase” is a confession, a revelation, a letting go. It is a project that brings old wounds into the air in order to let them heal. With a startling forthrightness and honesty, I work through the vulnerability of my body in relation to an abusive father.
“New Orleans” is known for its spectacle, revelry and lightness of spirit, and also for its natural disasters, violence and tragedy. Costume is embraced widely, not just during Mardi-Gras, but for small occasions all year. I began to see the readiness of the city to wear masks and make light amidst a harsh and difficult environment as a transcendental practice. People's ability to momentarily relinquish hold of their lives to create a world of joyful, fantastical play is not pure flight of fancy, but deeply rooted in the physical present, at a point of great intensity where the unrestrained joy of the flesh and acknowledgement of death collide.