Parallel Courses

Parallel Courses: Mixed-media site-specific installation, 156" x 156" x 120", 2015

Parallel Courses, my installation for Florida Craft Art in St Pete, redefines the typical wall/painting relationship. Abandoning the immediacy of simply hanging a painting on a wall, I hung a large abstract painting on a painted abstract structure over thirteen feet tall, six feet wide, and ten feet long. Using the square canvas as an anchor for the chaos around it, nothing in the installation extends in front of the painting. In essence, all the action takes place behind it, thus heightening the importance of the often invisible and forgettable space behind the canvas. Looking carefully at the various plywood shapes in the painted wooden structure that stretches through the gallery, the viewer might be able to tell that many of the shapes are the letters from my name. Additionally, the remaining shapes are all the negative spaces of plywood left after cutting out the letters from my name. Thus, this wooden structure is at once an artistic element in its own right, an armature for the painting to hang in front of, and my signature.

Veiled literary references play a significant role in all of my work. In this installation, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies came as a source of inspiration. The book follows a group of adolescent boys as they attempt to walk a treacherous line between losing themselves in the brutal ferality of the jungle and maintaining their humanity through cultivating some sort of pseudo-civilization. One of the key symbols that illuminates this struggle is their rescue fire, essentially a large beach bonfire used to signal to ships that inevitably grows out of control and begins to devour their surroundings. Inspired by the idea of an ever-encroaching wilderness that threatens a sense of order, I responded to this notion with the central sculptural component of the installation, a large, chaotic, dense, orange tower of wobbly grids and shapes. Rising up from the floor to the gallery’s ceiling, and placed, like a beacon, in front of the gallery’s sprawling windows, the installation either signals for rescue or beckons the chaos of jungle to inch its way towards deliverance on the pristine floors of the gallery.

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