The series “Lost and Found
,” was created largely using discarded objects. Mostly I used garbage I found on walks in the countryside outside Oaxaca City, Mexico, with a few pieces created from items that friends or family were getting rid of, or that I bought at a junkyard or second hand store. Back in my studio I used a dremmel and acid patina, drawing tools, or a needle and thread to encorporate text or imagery onto the objects. As I worked I thought about the things we cast aside, and why, and how they can acquire new meaning through a thoughtful application of craft. The results often reflected mixed feelings about living in our post-industrial society, with all of its benefits and waste. Among other things, this series caused me to engage my curiosity about the things human beings create, throw away, lose and find, to envision some posible future encarnations of these objects as they slowly decompose, and to consider the transitory nature of form.
One key aspect in showing this work at the AHA Festival of Progressive Arts was a contest I set up involving a dirty, flattened plastic bottle. I wanted to begin to engage and collaborate actively with viewers, and also provide an opportunity for someone to trade an idea for a sculpture—in this way changing its traditional “economic commodity” value for something more interesting. I asked viewers to suggest text or imagery which I could use to transform this piece of garbage into something new. After the festival, I chose a winner from the entries, completed the piece, and sent it off to the person who had suggested the text. This collaboration helped get me going on my next project, as I drew heavily upon the imagery and message of the poem from which the quote was taken to complete the installation “cast away”.