Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In recent years North American songbirds have been decimated by pollution, lost habitat, and the west nile virus. I have been interested in the grandpa craft/art production of homespun object making. Years back I started making birdhouses to explore this interest. I wanted to however change or fuse my perspective into this American tradition.
The mass urban shanty-like dense human dwelling areas have always visual interested me.
Kingston Jamaica, Quito Ecuador, and Cairo Egypt.
This project looks to explore the creation of an artificial landscape addressing this issue.
With nearly 2/3's the of lost songbird population - I want to bring this story to light through installation.
A large central bird shanty will fill the space. Constructed out of scrap wood and building materials --collected and rescued from the dump or from the remodeling of my current home.
Covering the wall with be custom illustrations and paintings of individual species in decline.
A molecular wall of Kohler ceramic bowls greats you as you inter the space. These 75 bowls are speakers from which bird songs will be broadcasted.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


"Victorian Pasture"
This project is not fully worked out. But the plan is to take 60 of Kohler ceramic ware oval bowls and using steel armatures erect them high off the floor of a gallery space. From the birds-eye perspective it should formally reflect the imagery of a northern WI lilly pond. From underneath the Victorian ribbed forms resemble ceiling chandelier medallions. In side the bowls I am thinking of growing clovers supplied from a local Wisconsin feed agricultural feed store. Some kind of water and lighting system will feed and maintain the plants. The viewer will first walk through the underneath perspective of Victorian imagery and steel scaffolding - then clear the field to perceive the a indoor rural farm pasture.
the Urban agriculture, mixed media landscape, classism, sense of space, anthropology, weaving, identity are all areas of thought in conceiving this piece.


Two urban locations- the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Baltimore, Maryland. Looking at culture, urban evolution, social rank or value through architecture artifacts from these two US cities. In particular the common brick- one style, "Cream City Brick" I got form one of Milwaukee's oldest building from the heart of it decaying downtown 1st Ave corridor.The building was 168 yrs in age and utilized this low cost / low fired style brick only found in SE Wisconsin( as it was made using clay deposits from the local rivers)
The second style of brick came form a Baltimore city rowhouse built in same time period. It unlike the cream city is a high fired, ornate brick that could only have been afforded by the wealthy. I like the fact that there is a social commentary just in simple building blocks. One a low cost utilitarian, the other a high class posh detail component and yet both are bricks.
Usually decorative brick outline windows or cap the top of a building facade. In this cast I wanted to neutralize both bricks from their past( but not their form) and translate them into clay used to make Kohler toilets and sinks. I liked the fact that this off white clay unified them in appearance. However I wanted to switch their roles- the posh dental brick would now have to hold up the poor( the cream city brick) . The form constructed with then would mimic the marble statue foundations often used in public bronze statue military sculptures.
I want this non- focal plinth to now be the center of attention in a way, and this time instead of showcasing a great American figure of horse back it will display a collection of inner city flora from both cities.


"Milwaukee Brown"

I made a casting of a derelict empty lot/industrial lot/brownfield from the south side of the city of Milwaukee . I am interested in the idea of what is seen or in this case un-seen by inhabitants of a particular place. This lot was interesting to me in that it represented a negative unsightly part of the city habitat that had lost its use. A question came from this: How can I re-transmit or translate an undervalued piece of earth into another form of earth which does represent something of rank? Kohler ceramic plumbing ware represents high society in terms of how is costs equate upper class values.
The second question is how to bring this cast 6ft x 10 ft off white vitreous clay floor or tableau to my audience. Since these spaces often go un-noticed in the landscape. I thought within the gallery white cube context I would build a special enclosure to house the tiled landscape- one that isolates the gallery audience forcing an intimate relationship this transform urban blight. Social reform through form and preception.


"Milwaukee-la cour parfumee avec le graffiti"

I am interested in human/public perceptions- The rich and the poor, social control, classism. How values of things are established and how context plays a role in this. What makes one thing good or of value and another thing unwanted. Why are kohler toilets selling for $6000 and of great domestic status, while graffiti is seen with as negativity subversive act or vandalism Who defines ownership, beauty, art, value.- how do these definitions change?
In exploring this project I hope to ask the audience to question or re-define this idea.
-Build a house have it painted with graffiti instead of traditional patterns--its still paint -- only the graffiti paint job has a level of social tension in it because socially acceptable by the majority.
-Tear up your grass front yard and plant weeds( clovers or dandelions) or restore it to native prairie--let is grow wild and uncut: there is tension in this act as well-- it asks people to both question and validate it- to have an opinion of worth.
The wild prairie and graffiti ideas are often in ill light yet both have a strong value system associated with them- the prairie -is better to the environment and ecosystem/ graffiti creates a forum for members of a community to express themselves and to be active within that community It bring ideas of aesthetics to areas often lacking of use.--etc
This option of worth-- the tension are important. Graffiti typically must remain subversive to be graffiti- I don't want to lose that I do however want to raise questions if possible.
The drawings/pic's attached show the Kohler-ware toilet bowl white cast tufted tile wall building from . It is meant to symbolize louis XV period posh life style mixed with American working class vinyl covered dreams. My thoughts are to have it painted by local Milwaukee based graffiti artists( maybe several –layers on top of layer like a real bombed graffiti wall). Milwaukee citizens like most Americans give little value to local wild plants or weeds- so I will build a low tech McGuyer like car battery grow light nursery featuring some collected weeds/ found plants from the city.. Can I mix all these things together to present a new landscape dialogue--????