Artist Statement

Contrary to the popular notion, special effects are not just reality simulations, cinematic spectacles, or surreal aberrations; rather they are visual mechanisms that expose political and ontological undercurrents of contemporary culture. My studio practice inquires into how technology distorts these relationships, and examines how they are often understood through the filters of perceptual experience. To make these inquiries, I intercede within images of animals and environments through the use of digital cinema, photography, and installation. The installation Prescribed Burn transforms the apocalyptic event of a forest fire into a revelatory visual experience. As the viewers lay on their backs on comfortable pillows and rugs, their view is encompassed by a forest fire projected on the ceiling. The conflagration is self-generating and never ending, leaving the audience perpetually on the threshold of ecological and visual collapse. When experiencing a visual effect we can glimpse Jamais Vu -from the French "never seen"- taking in the familiar and making it alien and unrecognized. This contextual erasure creates an opportunity for artistic intervention and the production of political meaning.

Frequently, images of animals lurk within my artwork. These animals live in an ontological quagmire. When we look at them we can see both the unknown of the wild and the potential for humanity. In the current discourses of art, the animal is seen as a representation - a symbol of our cultural projections and anthropomorphisms surrounding our ideas of nature. As Steve Baker writes, "It is the animal ... which more than anything else prompts a rethinking of what it is to be a human ‘subject’, and which points to the shortcomings of earlier philosophical accounts of the human." In exploring the representation of the animal, my artwork seeks to place the viewer within the indeterminate ground between nature, culture and technology. An uncanny visual connection is made in Bunny (Chimpanzee). The photograph depicts a taxidurmied juvenile chimpanzee clothed in a cartoonish bunny costume, standing alone in a jungle environment. The chimpanzee’s glass eyes return the camera’s gaze with an alien inquisitiveness, unaware of their state of suspended animation. This atrophied primate clad in children’s play wear compels an inquiry into the cultural personifications imbued in our concepts of the animal and the human.

1 Steve Baker, The Postmodern Animal, Reaktion Books LTD. London, 2000. p. 77