University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994, BFA Painting
My studio practice is conceptually driven from my experiences as an artist and archaeologist. I make paintings which are maps or charts following scientific rules to organize abstract data. Within archaeology, much of the important knowledge is gained through the detritus of past culture. I focus on similar type of seemingly worthless material for subject matter; our pop culture, junk mail, and spectacle. My painting and drawing processes involve employing all technologies: high and low. I fashion jigs to repeat tasks, use the computer to design and inform, and digital platforms and projections for end user interactivity.
The paintings are in the form of maps and charts and attempt to archive cultural effect. Popular culture disseminates information that leads us to believe Metropolis and Gotham are the homes of Superheroes. Through similar means, we come to see any town bearing the name of Springfield as a potential residence of The Simpsons. Many locations enjoy a simultaneous existence in both fiction and reality. Beliefs generated by invented identities influence our perception of “the real”. Imagined identity can also be imposed on place through reoccurring phenomena like the Super Bowl, World Fairs, or a papal visit. These events, though short lived and migrant, create an atmosphere of close connection and in this, the chosen locations will share in the legacy and identity that is lent through hosting these various spectacles.
Shiny and plastic like their subject of pop culture, the materials used in the paintings are metaphorically linked to the subject. Plastic represents not only the nature of the ever changing pop phenomena but also product endorsement or corporate logo. The painted surface is aluminum panel sold commercially as sign board, teasing the notion that painting and science are connected as systems of signs.
These locations, events, and ideas will be the research ground for future social scientists. These innocuous aspects of pop culture are the fossilization of present beliefs and attitudes in respect to our time. My archive then will have future importance for both science and art by quantifying and measuring this time through an honest effort of translation.