I’m doing some catch-up in this and the previous post. I have had a lot of practice talking about my work this past year and a half since opening a public studio on the Arts Walk.
Pseudomorph, noun: 1. an irregular or unclassifiable form.
For the Pseudomorphs my goal was to create something outside of categories. This was interesting to me as an exercise in critical thinking and I thought it useful to prompt viewers to pay attention to how their minds work. I have an abiding interest in exploring what is really real, and it is an essential step in this exploration to look at how our minds and cultures impose labels and boundaries around things. We may not be able to experience things outside of these boundaries, but at least we can pay attention to how they work and why they’re there. I used the most basic “Twenty Questions”-like categories: Animal; Plant; Manufactured. I chose to photograph objects that shared some kind of visual characteristic, something I call a visual rhyme. For example, in “Pseudomorphs: Specimen 1” I used objects that had small enclosed blank spaces: horse bridle hardware; bug-bitten leaf; Monarch butterfly wing. Then I created a completely new object by grafting these together using computer software (Photoshop). I realized, though, that once I made more than one, and once I titled the series, then I had in reality created a new category of thing, not a thing outside of categories. The human mind—there it goes again! I love to play with how our minds jump to organization and meaning every time. Verbal nonsense is a center of gravity for me because I love to feel this bending-toward-meaning-but-not-quite-getting-there.
The best thing about having a studio that is often open to the public is I get to see how all kinds of people react to my work without having to go through a lot of exhibition rigmarole. And I could see people reacting to the riddle nature of these pieces, so I can see I am communicating what I set out to do.