In my videos, I play a range of characters: from the familiar chef, doctor and fireman to an abstraction of lines and shapes, or collaged imagery. The characters sometimes sit as if posing for a never-ending portrait and sometimes they perform the workmanlike task of making art against the picture plane they so closely press against. The doctor may draw against the screen, the collaged character may cut through a collaged picture plane with a saw, the abstracted figures may move subtly to reorganize the composition of their framed world using the colors and shapes on their own bodies. And many times all the while these characters look directly at the viewer/camera breaking the fourth wall to address the audience on the other side of the screen.
My videos address the connections between film, photography, painting and the two-dimensional picture plane these mediums share.
My hope is that the playful activities presented in the work prompt real questions about both the creation of images and their consumption through screens. What is it about watching the creative process that is so powerful and mesmerizing? What is the place of performance, painting and drawing inside of the container of video? And how can we be more critical with regard to understanding these platforms of modern messaging? In “Commercial Break,” an outdoor exhibition organized by the Public Art Fund, I took on this idea directly, presenting my work on the mammoth screens of Times Square, where it interrupted the constant stream of commercial messages transmitted to the crowds below. Using a combination of modern art imagery, abstraction and the subtle cues of propaganda design I created a work that was meant to both look to the future of the place of art and look to the past.
While the screen may be the medium that makes it’s way in front of the viewer my studio practice is very much one that involves physical construction. There are almost never any digital effects. I make all of the costumes and the shallow sets. While the mechanics of the camera compress my actions two-dimensionally, the action in the studio is physical. My body and my actions are the “special effects” that move shapes and lines across the picture plane.