When I began representing the land in 1989, my artwork was initially influenced by NASA space photography – specifically the grid photographs of the surface of Mars. Indeed, for more than two decades I have found the tension established between such views “from above” and the mundane, embodied view “from below” to be an immensely productive one. I continue in my most recent work to connect the instruments that are used to model and organize space to human perception of our surroundings. What started by reading military tracking manuals and taking tracking lessons in order to see the landscape differently has resulted in a series of art installations that orchestrate an unlikely encounter between pre-Enlightenment Cabinets of Curiosity, Goethe’s writings on morphology, Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, and the anti-range finding camouflage schemes of the World Wars (so-called “dazzle painting”). The dynamic nature of my experiences in isolated landscapes has prompted me to consider my art installations as a continuing series of changing figure-ground relationships that are transitory in character and adaptable to different spaces. These black-and-white art installations are constructed with a variety of media such as photos, video, painting, drawing and text.
Viewpoint, movement and figure-ground relationships have become dominant themes in my artwork. While learning elementary tracking techniques in 2004, I began to consider a number of factors that challenged the models of figure-ground relationships I was taught as an artist: the absence of clearly distinguishing separations of foreground to background, the presence of subtle disturbances on the ground, the positioning of the perceiving body relative to the object and the possibility of attempted concealment and camouflage. As I soon discovered, artistic systems of pictorial representation, with their highly formalized conventions of perspective and figure-ground order, were just as technical, indeed, just as fabricated, as the most artificial mechanical prostheses. It seems that the age-old idea of the painting as a window is entirely true – only one must add the caveat that these windows do not open onto reality, but onto a purely fictional and imaginary universe. So, in my efforts to reconcile the disparities between the tracking experiments and the formal parameters of art, I began considering research on Gestalt Aesthetics, which interrelates phenomenon (objects) and process (events or experiences). In order to track, one inhabits a highly conceptual landscape. My work examines the transitional zone between the perceptual experience and technologies of visualization in which the prosthetic lens creates a highly pictorialized and artificial universe.