Artist Statement

As human beings, we like to believe that we are strong enough to handle life’s stressors.  However, our society has been formed to maintain order and not to be sensitive to our emotional limitations.  These conditions have had a considerable impact on our individual mental health. 

In my work, I like to address stability not only in terms of psychology, but also physically.  I am constantly trying to find balance and structure, even when life brings unexpected situations.  I believe that our personalities are also shaped by such experiences and how we handle them.

“Unhinged” is a series of animated GIFs I made that deal with the rituals people develop in order to maintain emotional stability.  The example used in this piece is smoking.  Many people smoke because they claim it helps them clear their mind when they are stressed out.  Because it is very addictive, the motions become habitual for a smoker.  This pattern is reflected in each GIF, as I perform these motions repeatedly.  The first GIF depicts me lighting the cigarette, the spark flashing to an image of a heart monitor.  The second runs through repeated images of inhaling and exhaling smoke, paired with the image of a breathing machine.  In the third, a cigarette is repeatedly extinguished on a tree.  The final GIF of the series flashes between images of me standing still and convulsing.  It isn’t clear whether this is actually happening or if I’m only imagining such loss of control, leaving the viewer to wonder what is real.  The series as a whole questions whether our habitual actions actually succeed in creating stability in our lives, or if they are the physical manifestation of our neuroticism.

The focus of my recent work has shifted from the psychological stability of humans to those physical objects we use to maintain that stability.  Rather than asking what each object can offer us, I wonder what demands of its own the object may have.  These questions were raised after reading Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter .  Bennett brings up a whole new philosophy of working with objects, and in response, I hope to make work that personifies certain objects that have provided stability for me in the past.  For example, my parents have had a weeping willow tree in their yard for as long as I could remember, and it was the first thing I could see before pulling in the driveway.  It was always an indicator that I was home.  The tree fell during a storm a few years ago, and because of its size, we haven't had the means to move it.  Considering it with Jane Bennett's writings in mind, I wonder what I can provide the tree.  It must be a miserable existence to be uprooted and have to lie there and rot.  My interests in trauma and medical procedures have emerged once again.  I wish to further personify this tree that was once "weeping" through the use of medical practices and instruments. 


Biographical Information  

I was born and raised in Crete, Illinois, located about 30 miles south of Chicago.  I recently received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.  My emphasis is in Visual Studies, which is a program that focuses on new media and technology as a means of making art, and discusses these modes of work in theory and culture.

As of right now, I would like to continue exhibiting work and exploring and learning new things about my concepts.  My ultimate dreams are to open up my own gallery, or go to graduate school so that I can teach.