Harlan Gallery at Seton Hill University, Sept. 26 – Oct. 30, 2015.
Obliterate and Rebuild.
These are the only ways of knowing an Other and Oneself.
I grew up in rural, post-industrial landscapes on the edges of Pittsburgh. In 2014, when the deepest roots of my life began to lift from the soil of this earth, I revisited the coke ovens and slate dumps in that depressed, yet pungent landscape, and I explored countless ways to examine and mine the nuances of those unremembered spaces.
As a youth, I don’t recall ever looking out to the contours of that landscape to find beauty though I often remember looking down. When space collapsed, I discovered a distressed canvas-like structure of fractured glass, stones, and coal, broken into one million scattered pieces that I collected and kept hidden, like precious treasures for much of my early childhood. I gathered them when I was alone, and delighted in my deep need for secrecy, solitude, and silence.
Trespassing into abandoned and filthy cellars I scoured waste and decay, and embodied the familiar stench of mold and rot. Armed with long sticks and carving knives, I tore through summer foliage, creating lines for safe passage and imagined expedition. When I became conscious of being unsafe I left these familiar spaces behind as if my feet had never marked the ground; as if the scars on my knees had been left by some other surface; something purer, something softer, than a land stripped bare of kindness and memory.
This work that grows from the shape and reference of these sites intends to give form to the quiet, yet blaring mystery of youth and the uncertainty of the tumultuous present and undetermined future. It is a tremendous collision of possibilities and impossibilities. The blurry density of saturated darkness and the eruption of light embedded into the silky skin of Mylar speak to the opposites that exist in us all. These are the shapes of sorrow and of loss, and they are mine alone to hold and to let go of.