The Nature of Commissions
Over the past decade, I have been invited to create commissioned work by collectors for their homes, for public spaces, and for museums. Each commission has presented unique problems and opportunities; and has simultaneously restricted and opened approaches to material production and conceptual strategy. I have been compelled by wrestling with the challenges commissions present. It is a catalyzing tension- process becomes more public and collaborative; there are multiple stakeholders to organize and motivate (the client, the fabricators, the presenter, and myself-the artist). The translation and communication of terms, intentions, and ideas become a core element of the success or failure a project.
As in much of my work heretofore, commissions give me an opportunity to work hand in glove with other artists and craftspeople who bring specialized skills and points of view to a project; and allow me to workshop/test an idea and an approach in a collaborative, cross disciplinary way. The client can also play a participatory and meaningful role.
Attached are images from four distinctive commissions—
- Tempus Fugit: I was commissioned by the American Philosophical Society Museum in Philadelphia to create a site-specific exhibition with objects curated from their museum and library collections paired with works of my own; and design the overall exhibition/installation.
- Scorza: commissioned by a private developer and Intelligentsia Coffee for a Wheeler Kearns designed high- rise building in West Town.
- Campanil Basso: commissioned by a private Chicago collector for her personal collection/home.
- Epilogos: also commissioned by collectors for their home.
- A-ZYM: a folio of 27 works on paper inspired by a 1910 Britannica Encyclopedia purchased by collectors who commissioned me to design the installation for their display.
My work considers the nature of knowledge, how it is conveyed, and what “knowing” is. I am interested in the relationship between common ways of distributing knowledge—words or equations—and the intuitive, often subliminal, ways we construct what we know to be true.
In this age of immediate and pervasive digital information that we most often access in isolation, I am passionate about the knowledge we attain through our senses, as well as art’s capacity to connect us to this increasingly rare experience.
Everything that I make begins as a drawing, modest in scale and materials, typically contained in a bound book. These books become my laboratories. Images and ideas within them provoke deeper investigation—through collage, animation, light, sound—which can evolve into layered and expansive installations.
My site-specific exhibitions create a space and context that place the observer physically inside the piece, activating their senses to receive and process the experience. Walking through a library along a series of unfolding collages. Stepping into a field tent to discover blue sky and a cloud shifting in an animated film. Seeing and hearing sand move through an immense hourglass. Opening a book.
My art explores how we yearn to name, interpret, and organize the worlds around and inside us, and plays with the nuanced relationship between fact and truth. I aim to convey a rhythm between the grand and the diminutive, the specific and the impressionistic, that which is known and that which is only sensed.