Mixed media, 24" x 24" x 72" Part of the Still Life series.
Artist Statement: Still Life is a series of found object sculptures that represent different animals and the environments associated with them. I am amazed at the way in which the natural world constantly changes and adapts in order survive, and how all organisms, both living and non-living exist to benefit each other. I draw inspiration from these aspects of the natural world; it seems to me that this is the way that the world was meant to exist. In each work, small objects are used to create the image of a particular species of animal; the objects are carefully chosen to represent the mood and characteristics of the species as well as the life and energy of the natural world.
I chose to portray this concept through animals because, unlike humans, an animal’s existence is decided by its environment. In order for an animal to exist, it must have a specific environment to live in; it needs a certain climate, certain types of food, and other factors to create a perfect balance. Although beautiful, I see this aspect of the natural world as fragile and chose to include it in my show. The seemingly solid structures will not rest on a surface, but rather they will be suspended in midair. The relationships between the small composing objects, the fact that they float next to each other, brings a sense of fragility and a lack of solidity that suggests that each part needs the other in order to exist, much like the way an ecosystem exists in nature. The title, Still Life, was born from the fact that I do not wish the animals to provide a narrative, but rather be looked at in a way similar to how one would look at freeze frames. They give a sense that the forms are somewhere between movement and stillness, and thus in possession of a certain energy.
The process of creating and producing each sculpture was generally the same for all three pieces. After I had decided on a species of animal, I researched what kind of environment that they exist in, and decided on a material for the small objects. I choose very different species to show a variety of the natural world. For the first sculpture, the butterfly, I chose to use flowers to make up the shape. Like the butterfly, flowers are fragile and brightly colored. Flowers are the main source of food and shelter for a butterfly, without them the species would not exist. The second sculpture, the bird, is made up of leaves. Birds spend the majority of their time in trees, as trees provide safety and shelter for them. The way leaves grow on trees is also similar to the way a bird has thousands of feathers. The last sculpture, the coyote, is a strong and adaptive species and it can exist in many environments. For this reason, I chose to create the coyote form out of small rocks; rocks are found all over the world in almost every environment as well. Coyotes also often make their dens inside caves or rocky cliffs. In each sculpture, I suspended the small objects with clear nylon thread and hung everything inside a display case.
The ever-changing balance of the natural world never fails as an inspiration for my work. When one looks at nature at a first glance it appears so simple; but in reality it is made up of hundreds of different aspects all relating to each other. The way in which living things coexist in nature is so very different from the way humans live our lives; sometimes it seems as though we are missing out. I hope that as one studies Still Life they are able to experience and think about the intricate and beautiful relationships that exist throughout the natural world.