Temporary Monuments, Unreliable Self-Portraits
I know of no monuments (so far) that accurately reflect my personal experience other than what I have produced and will produce. In my sculptural piece, Scuttle, the monument has been broken down into individual elements that are entirely un-monumental. Some of the words used by those who do not favor this work: cute, animated, unserious, alien, threatening but only because of their numbers, swarming. These are the same words that I have heard in describing Asian immigrants. Images of Cambodian refugees swarming over embassy gates or of Chinese workers laboring in large numbers to create the nation's first continental railroad system. Koreatown. Chinatown. The camps that imprisoned Japanese citizens during World War II. Due to our color, or lack thereof, we are a peculiarly unthreatening threat. We are "cute" until we are not wanted.
Unlike Dorothea Lange's portraits of poverty, where humanity is etched in careworn faces, the Asian alien person is often shown nearly faceless, in numbers that seem to reinforce their sameness to one another.
As with Scuttle, the other ceramic "monuments" in the installation aim to express importance and power without the use of overpowering scale and implied permanence. None of the monuments are eternal. Each can be packed flat, like Ikea furniture, and moved to the next location. The next camp, ghetto, the next "-town."
"Heavy" is a 33' installation of broken kiln shelves that bear the cracks, breaks and marks of years of high-temperature firings. The shelves are propped up using smaller pieces of broken kiln shelves. The broken edges of the shelves are painted red to emphasize the breakage.
"Fragile Monument" stands about 40" tall and is composed of bisqued clay sheets balanced delicately on found 4x4 wood posts. The light pink color as well as the thinness of the clay is in start contrast to the posts, but emphasize fragility, vulnerability and temporaility.
"Yellow Monument" stands nearly 8' tall and is composed of extruded bisque clay tubes supported by plywood open-ended boxes. The fluted and ragged edges of the clay and the plywood have been stained with yellow dye. The self-proclaimed "monument" is at once imposing and delicate and temporary.
"RedYellowGreen" triptych 132" wide, each canvas measuring 44 x 64". Acrylic and oil on canvas.
Each canvas is 27 x 32". Acrylic, oil paint.
Two Ikea tables, painted white, seem to fight, play or mate, with a toy-like arrangement of clay shapes appearing to escape the action.
"Portrait" 44 x 64", acrylic and oil on canvas