—A.R. Ammons, Garbage
I began working in the medium of sculpture using found objects about 20 years ago when I was running (and living in) my second-hand/junk shop in the Fenway neighborhood in Boston, MA. After years of using photography as my main medium, I began playing around with the wild assortment of objects I found while trash-picking to make a living. The instant “art” I made in the dark alleyways of Boston’s many neighborhoods provided an immediate gratification I had not experienced before. Even the seemingly chaotic juxtaposition of objects for sale in my store began to take on inherent sculptural qualities.
I have always delighted in saving things from the trash, things that would have been crushed and destroyed forever if I had not rescued them. My favorite objects for art-making are dolls, toys, stuffed animals, mannequin parts, and faces of all kinds. Sometimes the worn dolls and stuffed animals I find tell whole stories just as they are, but mostly I am interested in transforming them; wrapping them with panty-hose, rope, cloth, lace, underwear, yarn, etc. Often they are decorated with hundreds of treasures also salvaged: beads, baubles, pins, rhinestones, glasses, masks, and other objects. I like to think I turn these often tragic cast-offs into gods and goddesses, fetishes and trophies, demons and warriors. They also represent spirit guides that aid us on our journey through life, and the lost souls that don’t make it.
As children and adults, I believe we continuously explore the fantasy world of myth and struggle, using those metaphors which help us to meet life’s challenges and move towards our dreams. My work represents fears faced, explored and shattered; and as trophies they represent personal transformation and the rescue of the soul from inner demons and destruction. Perhaps it’s also about trying to “keep it all together” and “tied up”. But within my framework themes of birth, abandonment, rebirth, and salvation, humor is the great unifier: sometimes mocking the foolishness, waste, and hubris of misguided human endeavor, (as witnessed in our outrageously cavalier throw-away culture), and sometimes laughing affectionately at the often head-shaking pathos of simply being a human being.