|fetherston gallery||home news info artists exhibits|
Throughout my life, I have been very aware of myself in relation to my environment, in relation to my mother, my mother's mother, and how the places where I have resided have formed my identity, and how my presence forms the place as well. There is an internal sense of feeling either connected or disconnected to the places in which we reside that affects all of our interactions. I have always been very aware of this internal feeling of place and identity, observing every outer environment in which I have lived as a tourist. The interior of the body is home, but to all other places we are foreigners.
As a traditional tourist of travel to Eastern Europe, I became inspired by the history of thermal public baths and springs. They are places full of a mysterious dimness, damp and full of ritual spirituality, but also an awareness of sexuality. These public baths are places of social hedonism and physical virility, but are dually recognized for their healing powers and meditative spiritual qualities. This hybrid sense of the physical body in these spaces intrigued me as the perfect vehicle to express a feeling of an alternative kind of identity.
Today people travel to a foreign land for many reasons–to escape, to educate themselves, to search out relaxation, to renew their social relationships and more. They use the computer to practice communication and an imagined hedonism through the connection of the internet. People take on the alternative identity of an avatar to become a “foreign body” which can morph in various ways as they travel. Through travel, we become a hybrid of ourselves and an artificial reality.
In my work, I look to express a new sense of the body, which transforms the identity of an individual into a moving and melding form that can connect and disconnect to place, space, and experience. There is a language with the body that communicates in an unspoken way. It is this translation of “bodily” experiences that comes forth in my work through the metaphoric qualities of water and the ritual aspects of cleansing, rebirthing into new forms.
This concept of a foreign identity can be seen throughout my work in painting through the use of foreign "plastic" materials brought to a more natural or traditional setting or process. The water and environment becomes digitized much like on-line travel or the photograph of a traditional tourist. Figures are separate from this external environment, stuck onto the surface of a place where they do not come from. They work to form connections to others and to place through artificial lines, forming dispersed thoughts of a place upon a short time of contact or from what others have told them as spots of white floating in space. The bodies take on different, morphed forms that are alter personalities. Shapes of light and abstraction are instances of transference. Darkened edges give a sense of the internal home while depicting the external reality. The result is a view of the internal/external duality of ourselves.