Japanese Garden, Part of American Landscape
Artist Statement: Installations The first thing I do when I enter an area with the intention of creating a multi-media installation is to walk around and survey the space. As I open myself up to its mystery and memory, I begin to view the site with these underlying principles of the traditional Japanese Garden in mind: symbolism, imagination, simplicity, and repetition. The starting point for my creative process is an initial image that usually comes to mind spontaneously. Then the hard work begins, as I plunge into a procedure that involves constant experimentation with the available materials, the existing space, and the flow of original ideas. The image for Mechanical Bird occurred as I explored the site of an abandoned New Jersey factory. An actual bird flew into this 10,000 square foot area through a large open window, and immediately, I imagined this space as symbol of the universe. I decided to construct a mechanical bird in the center of the site using such found objects as ropes, bamboo, synthetic fabric, and vinyl. In order to create depth, I connected the wings of the bird to various columns with thread. Representative of the modern world with its technology and contemporary materials, the bird contained a light fixture in its center which was timed to turn on and off. This mechanism of light and dark changed both the structure and color of the bird while evoking thoughts about the passage of time and the cycles of life and death. In the site corners, I added a waterfall (made from spools and wire) and a large snail (sculpted with string) to signify the power of nature in our universe. The spiral body of the snail can be viewed as a symbol for infinity while the waterfall signifies the meditative states one can experience in the natural world. In addition, I created several mixed media works (Fireworks, Rain Shower, Waterfall, Snow Storm) and placed them on the surrounding walls.