My process begins with the intent of unraveling certain romantic stereotypes surrounding art history, specifically “the old trope of the painter in his studio, agonizing in silence, waiting for a flash of inspiration--that stroke of genius that will provide the next excuse to pour his guts out on the canvas.”
My work is purposely laborious. It’s not predetermined by sketches, but meticulously pieced together like an evolving puzzle. I think of it as crafted rather than executed. The paintings and sculptures in That unicorn is probably going to die, divide into three distinct but overlapping series; Longpaintings, Unravel and Harpoons for hunting rainbows. These works are assembled using yarn, paint, tree branches and afghan blankets. To begin, I unroll skeins of yarn into long rows of colored string. Then, I line several strands side by side and knot them together, eventually compiling large mounds of colored material.
In the case of the Longpaintings, I use white yarn knots that are cut and adhered to canvas, eventually adding paint to finish the process. The exaggerated lengths of string that hang from the surfaces of the Longpaintings are meant to convey weight and gravity. I want these long strings to appear as fluid as tears, or be reminiscent of hair from a mask.
The Unravel paintings are made by first building a frame with tree branches, and then I use the strands of knotted yarn to wrap and weave a pseudo canvas while simultaneously pouring and dyeing the textiled surface with acrylic paint. As their title suggests, these works can be seen as falling apart, perhaps under their own weight. The yarn is knotted and tied as a way to hold the work together, but there exists an inherent anxiety and uncertainty as to the permanence of this gesture. By using tree branches in place of finished stretcher bars and unwoven yarn instead of a manufactured canvas I mean to reduce these paintings down to their essential structural elements.
Finally, the Harpoons for hunting rainbows are a kind of quixotic tool for capturing color (an essential element of any painting). Their title and weapon-like appearance points to the primitivism (or essentialism) present in all of the works in the exhibition. They are created by wrapping knotted strands of yarn around a tree branch over several days. In the end, there exists an ambiguity about whether these branches are protected by the yarn or suffocating in a cocoon of string.
The title of the exhibition, That unicorn is probably going to die refers to a time when childhood idealism is replaced by the reality of adulthood. It permits a space and time for fantasy, while acknowledging its transitory nature. In my work I represent this dichotomy through my chosen materials. I’m not interested in manipulating material to create illusions. I use yarn, blankets and tree branches because they have associations with the actual world, but the paint and color allow for fanciful flourishes where reality and fantasy can coexist. Within these works, I try not to choose one side over another, but instead draw attention to a time when their precarious balance is most present.