Several years spent as a practicing neurologist struggling to fathom the workings of the human brain and the innumerable ways in which it can fail and even a greater number of years spent as a researcher applying scientific principles to develop new medicines to treat human ailments have left me with indelible impressions of our fragmentary understanding of the natural world and the fleeting nature of our existence. My work is informed by these experiences and I represent these observations in the art that I make. My work is further influenced by a study of Buddhist and Stoic philosophies and in particular the notions of attachment and impermanence.
Methodologies and Media
At the core of my process is the utilization of digital technologies in the design and fabrication of work. Artists have always been at the forefront in the incorporation of new technical advances to art-making. The recent and widespread availability of increasing microprocessing power coupled with the RepRap project and the availability of desktop 3D printers and CNS routers is no exception. My sculpting techniques have evolved from working in stone and steel to fabricating sculptures with digital methods including fused filament fabrication (FFF) and computer numerical control (CNC) of traditional power tools. Despite the use of current technologies my process typically concludes with traditional sculpting and painting techniques.
My explorations entail utilizing new media (electronics and code) to create interactive works. A current series utilizes a Raspberry Pi (microprocessor) and Python (software) to display live streaming tweets from around the globe. The works query Twitter servers for selected key words and the retrieved tweets are displayed in real time at a rate that can be read and processed by the observer. These tweets represent a random sampling of the thousands of tweets sent out each hour from locations around the globe and are constantly changing so the text on the screen is never the same.
My practice includes exploration and expression of ideas and emotions in the abstract with traditional painting using acrylics and mixed media including found elements and residual materials from sculpting.
I have been experimenting with sculptures fabricated from found or recycled steel. A recent body of work consists of figurative sculptures formed from discarded, rusted, steel nuts and washers. The figures are intentionally created as fragments requiring the viewer to complete the form, and serve as stark reminders of both the fleeting nature of existence and our incomplete perception and understanding of the natural world.
The fabrication process begins with sourcing uncoated steel hardware that have rusted through neglect and can no longer serve their original purpose. After the rust has been removed the nuts or washers are individually welded in heat resistant plaster molds. The models for the plaster molds are either "ready-mades" or created with digital and fused deposition modeling (3D printing). Once assembled the pieces are finished with acrylic paint or patinas to either inhibit or speed up the natural oxidation process.
My earlier work in sculpture consists of abstract forms in stone. The forms consist of graceful curves that suggest ideas or concepts. Attention is paid to the mood that the pieces convey to the viewer through the form and texture of the stone but a complete appreciation and understanding relies on the dialogue and the relationship that the view has with the piece.
The stone used for these works are sourced locally in Plaster City, California and are discards from the US Gypsum quarry located there. Chemically, gypsum is very similar to alabaster and the feel and finish of the works is akin to alabaster but with perhaps a bit more character. Using discarded stone is again in keeping with the notion of using found or recycled materials.