Preparing for the Ritual, Number One (2017)
handmade abaca paper, mixed media
28 x 24 x 9 in.
How do people understand what it means to be human? How do we endure contradiction, uncertainty, fear, suffering and loss? How do we celebrate joy and beauty? Over the millennia people have created supernatural spirits in an enormous variety of forms and temperaments to deal with their humanity. Their creative interactions with these spirits are a constant source of inspiration for me.
I create my own images of spirits and of their artifacts through sculpture with handmade paper. Many of my influences come from popular religious culture: Haitian altars, Indian roadside shrines, 15th century Japanese Buddhas and the simple artifacts sold outside South American cathedrals.
Working with multiples is a strong component of my work. It is both a metaphor and a strategy. Multiples, especially those with variations, point to the simple yet complicated nature of most things. As an artistic strategy, they offer an opportunity for experimentation within a structure, for stillness with many variations. As a visual strategy, they calm a busy eye, with each object informing the others.
These multiples hang from the ceiling, are mounted on pedestals and stand on the floor. Their installation actually completes the work. Each installation is site-specific, reflecting the space, the inclination of the installer and the ephemerality of the spirit world.