artist statement

 

I make photographs, sculptures, and installations. My art addresses identity, transgender issues, family, and the physical self.

 

Accuracy is very important in my work, rather than precision. A precise photograph might be a head-and-shoulders shot of a carefully lit subject, in focus, with a direct gaze. An accurate photograph, I believe, shows the viewer the important part of the subject’s reality. That reality might be the subject’s emotion, it might be their body they way they see it, it might be the budding shadow of a secret they are avoiding. The formal qualities of an accurate photograph depend on the reality being conveyed.

 

Even with ubiquitous cameras, we all have defining moments and truths in our lives for which we lack accurate photographs. When I stage or elaborately construct photographs, I make them for the moments and memories for which I lack an image. A “straight” photograph of a family can suggest what is going on, but doesn’t represent the unseen emotions of the subjects. An accurate photograph represents the subjects’ inner truths, and at the same time, is still composed of a record of light particles in the physical world.

 

When I make a portrait with someone else as the subject, it is a struggle in collaboration. I face the same conflict we all do when face-to-face with another. I want to give them agency in their representation. But at the same time, I am drawn to represent how I see them, and who I want them to be in my life. And often, the image that a subject wants to see is one that shows what they mean to someone else. So, my portraits of others are photos of others, but they are my photos of others.


II

My self-portraits are usually near the borders of the genre. Most recently, I have been taking photos of myself dressed up and posed as others in my life, situated in their clothing, gestures, and pastimes. I find this to be an intimate, transgressive, and illuminating experience.

 

 

When I make sculptures, it is to put an object into the world that I believe belongs there. Similar to how I make photographs for the moments I don’t have captured, I make sculptures for the objects I don’t encounter in the world, and believe that I should.


III

All of my work is about my own experiences - in my life, in my emotions, and of others. For the viewers who find community and representation in my work, I welcome them warmly. For the viewers who see my work and believe I am very different from them, I hope that they, often so reluctant to explore the issues in my work in their own lives, will initially explore them through my work. I hope they feel safe and insulated, believing we are so far apart. Then, subversively, I hope the viewer will begin to encounter these issues in their own life, and in themself. I will then welcome them too.