Beautiful Wall?

Beautiful Wall?

Found Media & paint on wood

12.75” x 21.75”x .75”

2017

The wall is to keep them out or to keep us in?

The Brand

The Brand

Found Media & paint on wood

12” x 18” x 3”

2017

The President and his jesters…is that “what America was”? Is that where we are going?

When America Was Great: Water Fountains

When America Was Great: Water Fountains

10” x 10” x 4" Wall mounted

Acrylic paint on fabricated wood and plywood 2017 wall mounted.

In 2016, Americans are asked to look back to when the nation was great.  I remember two public water fountains (at the A & P Grocery Store) with a specific racial reference.

Missing

Missing

32” x 30” x 72”, size varies slightly with installation

Installation incorporating a wall mounting with adjacent floor placement. Wall portion (24” x 12” x 12”): carved and painted laminated wood with found painted wooden boat. Floor portion (73” x 22” x 3”): carved and painted laminated plywood in the form of a human contour. 2017

Boats, vessels, are vehicles for escape or recreation; sometimes it is not successful.

 

Missing, detail of wall mounted portion

Missing, detail of wall mounted portion

 

Installation incorporating a wall mounting with adjacent floor placement. Wall portion (24” x 12” x 12”): carved and painted laminated wood with found painted wooden boat. 

Boats, vessels, are vehicles for escape or recreation; sometimes it is not successful.

 

Deal Maker

Deal Maker

 12" x 18" x 6" Shredded US currency & paint on carved wood

2017 wall mounted.

Who shapes politics?

NRA

NRA

 12" x 20" x 4" Shredded US currency, painted cast ceramic guns on wood

2017 wall mounted.

Death reaches.

When America Was Great: Duck and Cover

When America Was Great: Duck and Cover

15.5” x 12” x 12”

Acrylic paint, glue on polyester fill supported with wire and wood armature 2017

In 2016, Americans are asked to look back to when the nation was great.  I remember the anxiety of nuclear war threatening. As a child, I was taught when I saw a very bright light to duck and cover to avoid the blast.

Heels

Heels

 46" x 18" x 18" Carved wood covered with glitter 2017

Expectations

 

Sea Rise

Sea Rise

9' x 12' x 22"

Paint on carved and fabricated wood (2016)

With global warming, inundations become the norm.

 

Ugly American

Ugly American

11” x 12” x 5"

Paint and shredded US currency on shaped wood 2016

The pejorative, Ugly American, can become the moniker for any American political operative who is a crass, ridiculous, avaricious and divisive demagogue.

 

Ugly American, detail

Ugly American, detail

11” x 12” x 5”

Paint and shredded US currency on shaped wood 2016

The pejorative, Ugly American, can become the moniker for any American political operative who is a crass, ridiculous, avaricious and divisive demagogue.

 

Bombs or Butter

Bombs or Butter

Bombs or Butter, 8” x 10” 3”, found figures on constructed painted wooden US contour, 2015

Considering the results of the “Shock and Awe” campaign of the 2003 Iraqi War, will our foreign policy and its patriotic fervor support life affirming nutrients or death promoting war implements?

Bombs or Butter

Bombs or Butter

Detail

Debt

Debt

20.5” x 6.5” x 6”

Found wooden toy figure with silver charm atop a painted fabricated wooden base and graduated wooden spheres covered with shredded American currency

2016

 

Owing money is a personal and professional burden.

Debt, detail

Debt, detail

20.5” x 6.5” x 6”

Found wooden toy figure with silver charm atop a painted fabricated wooden base and graduated wooden spheres covered with shredded American currency

2016

 

Owing money is a personal and professional burden.

Sacrilege: Mother Emmanuel


Sacrilege: Mother Emmanuel


8.5” x 6” x 7”Paint on wood (found blocks with toys) 2016

 

Churches are set apart for prayer and reflection not for carnage. An uninvited yet welcomed stranger to a bible study shot congregants after quietly sitting in their midst for an hour. 

Sacrilege: Mother Emmanuel


Sacrilege: Mother Emmanuel


8.5” x 6” x 7”Paint on wood (found blocks with toys) 2016

Churches are set apart for prayer and reflection not for carnage. An uninvited yet welcomed stranger to a bible study shot congregants after quietly sitting in their midst for an hour. 

Greed

Greed

11” x 12” x 5” 

Paint & shredded American currency on carved wood

2016 wall mounted. 

The love of acquiring and holding money conveys authority and power in American culture.

 

“Pawn”, 48” x 14” x 10”, found wooden chess pawns on constructed, painted silhouette atop checker board base, 2015

“Pawn”, 48” x 14” x 10”, found wooden chess pawns on constructed, painted silhouette atop checker board base, 2015

As workers, we can see our selves in this position. 

Pawn, detail

Pawn, detail

“Guns Kill”, 15” x 14” x 3”, found wooden blocks and paint on plywood, 2015

“Guns Kill”, 15” x 14” x 3”, found wooden blocks and paint on plywood, 2015

“Xenophobia: Who is and American?” 11 1/2” x 56” x 30”, found wooden bunnies, flag, and paint on plywood, 2015

“Xenophobia: Who is and American?” 11 1/2” x 56” x 30”, found wooden bunnies, flag, and paint on plywood, 2015

In Native American mythology, the rabbit is a secretive, trickster animal, a shape shifter, who uses cunning to outwit foes. 

“Xenophobia: Who is and American?” detail

“Xenophobia: Who is and American?” detail

“Shooting, Killing”, 20”x 19” x 3”, found wooden blocks and paint on plywood, 2015

“Shooting, Killing”, 20”x 19” x 3”, found wooden blocks and paint on plywood, 2015

Clean Water, 5” x 12” x 12”, painted wood, 2015

Clean Water, 5” x 12” x 12”, painted wood, 2015

 

 

I am drawn to lyric associations of water; it is life sustaining, cleansing, refreshing, powerful, and illusive. I see it as a mystical part of the landscape. My water image refers to transitory conditions; a fluid surface changes with currents or waves, distorts reflections, or inundates spaces.

My chosen black surface for water carries with it an ambiguous, obscure or confusing reading. Its darkness suggests murkiness; therefore, is its depth shallow or deep or is its quality clean or polluted? The inference for water colored black can be described as powerful and frightening. Is it clean?

No More

No More

No More 84” 54”x 54”, painted dominos, fabricated miniature wooden buildings on plywood with mixed media cloud, 2014

“No More,” reminds the viewer of the melt-downs of nuclear reactors at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.  Is this the power source safe?

No More

No More

No More, detail of surrounding landscape

Balance

Balance

Balance, 21” x 7” x 7”, found toy titter-totter, carved and assembled wood with paint and gold foil on wood. 2014 

Parity in governance in the United States is skewed by the weight of unlimited money in the guise of free speech.

Balance

Balance

Balance, detail of top portion

Soil rich/Dirt Poor

Soil rich/Dirt Poor

Soil rich/Dirt Poor 5” x 16” x 16”, painted scaled wooden fence with fabricated soil/dirt of sawdust and adhesive on plywood, 2014 

Rich soil is dark noting abundant organic nutrients, and fertile; dirt is ubiquitous, thin and useless. Sequestering an area focuses its potential utility and purity as the perimeter of the fence suggests.  The economic reference uses a metaphor of a fenced grave visualizing the negative effects of a concentration of resources isolating options for development

Free Speech

Free Speech

Free Speech, 27” x 12” x 4”, painted fabric, carved and painted “Speech”, chain with wooden metallic weight on plywood, 2014 

Unlimited money distorts public dialogue; the volume of purchased media outlets quells the freedom of speech. 

Free Speech

Free Speech

Free Speech, detail

School House Shooting

School House Shooting

School House Shooting, 10” x 12” x 6”, found and assembled wooden blocks and toy, 2014  Previously, schools were considered safe places. With new normal, schools have become venues where troubled persons use guns to act-out. 

Burgeoning, 2014, 22" x 8' x 10’, found match box cars, plywood, liquid nails, & caulk

Burgeoning, 2014, 22" x 8' x 10’, found match box cars, plywood, liquid nails, & caulk

I see Burgeoning as a suggestion that the natural landscape is invaded by a pestilence of cars. The entire surface of the sculpture is composed of the small cars.    Considering contemporary American urban freeways, the ubiquity of vehicles in traffic appears as swarms of insects. Continuing the metaphor of adult automobiles to toys, match box cars pour forth from a rupture on the surface like a volcano spewing magma of vehicles.

Burgeoning, detail

Burgeoning, detail

Demeter, 74" x 38" x 18", found toy cars mounted on carved wooden form,wall mounted, 2013

Demeter, 74" x 38" x 18", found toy cars mounted on carved wooden form,wall mounted, 2013

Demeter is the ancient Greek goddess associated with the agriculture, fertility of the earth, as well as the cycle of life and death.  The contemporary landscape is defined with urban and rural markings.  Urban constructions are man-made; similarly, the countryside is altered by the human touch, yet, nature is apparent.  The poetic impact of Demeter can be seen outside the city by the lines of crops delineating growth, the gift of this goddess, in myth, the teacher of the cultivation of grain.  In irony, the Rorschach face emerges scarred with grooves of cars; an earth marred by a season of waste and careless placement-a harvest of negligence.

Demeter, detail

Demeter, detail

Detail of surface edge with toy cars. 

Stack, 38"x 24" x 24", found toy cars, steel frame, caulk, paint on fiber and wood, 2013

Stack, 38"x 24" x 24", found toy cars, steel frame, caulk, paint on fiber and wood, 2013

Once readied for use, cannon balls are stored by positioning one on top of another.  These spherical forms, car bombs, are metaphors for the outrageous demand for armaments prompted by a very questionable reading of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing the individual’s right to bear arms.

Large Car Bomb: Second Amendment Right, 70” x 34” x 34” (Bomb 32” x 34” x 34”), found match-box cars on plywood and metal core, caulk, and fiber, 2013

Large Car Bomb: Second Amendment Right, 70” x 34” x 34” (Bomb 32” x 34” x 34”), found match-box cars on plywood and metal core, caulk, and fiber, 2013

Large Car Bomb: Second Amendment Right

There is irrationality in contemporary public discourse. If the Second Amendment to the US Constitution permits military style automatic and semi-automatic rifles with large magazines for bullets, perhaps every American can possess his/her car bomb for private use.  With toy matchbox cars (found objects) attached with industrial adhesives on a plywood and metal core, I make sculptures using motifs derived from popular culture (comic strip bombs) ironically questioning the extent of the freedom to own armaments.

Large Car Bomb: Second Amendment Right, detail

Large Car Bomb: Second Amendment Right, detail

Detail of surface

Right to Bear Arms: Car Bombs, 46” x 12” x 12”, found toy cars on wire mesh supported by found column, 2013

Right to Bear Arms: Car Bombs, 46” x 12” x 12”, found toy cars on wire mesh supported by found column, 2013

There is irrationality in contemporary public discourse. If the Second Amendment to the US Constitution permits military style automatic and semi-automatic rifles with large magazines for bullets, perhaps every American can possess his/her car bomb for private use.

Right to Bear Arms: Car Bombs

Right to Bear Arms: Car Bombs

Detail of top portion

his Church, installation of found dominos and fabricated toy parts, 12” x 8” x 6” (size varies with installation, the stacked dominos can collapse), 2012

his Church, installation of found dominos and fabricated toy parts, 12” x 8” x 6” (size varies with installation, the stacked dominos can collapse), 2012

In his Church, the work considers that men seem to dominate the governance of spiritual institutions, perhaps to  their detriment.

Statement about “Dominos”

In popular culture, dominoes are played not only as a board game but they become metaphorical.  As a child, I remember the “cold war” jargon for the red scare (the insidious progress of communism) where independent democracies fall like dominoes as this red tide of oppression tumbles governments.

In my sculptures, dominoes placed one on top of another are precarious; they can slip and collapse. Though the stack is not very tall, the vertical pile does provide tension.  A viewer does not want to disturb the balance once he/she realizes the individual dominoes are not attached to each other.  The top piece, which is a toy or a modification of a toy-like form, provides a context.  The irony of toys, the child’s vehicle for make-believe, used to suggest troubles in the grown-up world is not lost.

his Church

his Church

Detail of collapsed installation

 

Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico), 32” x 42” x 18”, found Mexican wooden tray and wire stand with carved wooden skull and powder, 2012

Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico), 32” x 42” x 18”, found Mexican wooden tray and wire stand with carved wooden skull and powder, 2012

The title for a sculpture, Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico), carries the irony of a common label attached to exported goods with the current extreme terrorizing tactics of the Mexican drug cartels.  Revenues from imported drugs sold in US markets support a shadow government of drug lords, kidnapers and corrupt officials south of the Rio Grande.

Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico)

Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico)

Detail of top of tray

us-Red/Blue, found dominos and fabricated parts, 30” x 10” x 10” (size varies with installation, the stacked dominos can collapse), 2012

us-Red/Blue, found dominos and fabricated parts, 30” x 10” x 10” (size varies with installation, the stacked dominos can collapse), 2012

The use of dominos with a precarious balance is us-Red/Blue. The pronoun “us” becomes the symbolic term of the United States complete with a map of the country poised atop a 30 inch or so stack of colored plastic dominos.  The primary political parties in the US are Republicans and Democratics, red and blue respectively.  The governmental dialogue between the two poles of persuasion is tenuous if existing at all, a metaphor presented in the work.

us-Red/Blue

us-Red/Blue

Detail of collapsed installation

Family Farm, installation of found dominos and fabricated toy parts, 12” x 8” x 8” (size varies with installation), 2012

Family Farm, installation of found dominos and fabricated toy parts, 12” x 8” x 8” (size varies with installation), 2012

 In the United States, the small farm owned by an individual is being consumed by a corporate entity motivated by investment profits more than sustainable agricultural processes.

Family Farm, 12” x 8” x 8” (size varies with installation), found wooden dominos with found and fabricated toy parts, 2012

Family Farm, 12” x 8” x 8” (size varies with installation), found wooden dominos with found and fabricated toy parts, 2012

Collapsed installation

Predator, installation of found dominos and fabricated toy parts, 12” x 8” x 8” (size varies with installation)

Predator, installation of found dominos and fabricated toy parts, 12” x 8” x 8” (size varies with installation)

Childhood is a collection of successive experiments ever expanding the perception of the individual. An exploitive intimate intervention disrupts the stability of constructive layering of experiences for children. 

Predator

Predator

Detail of the collapsed installation

Mutant, installation of constructed wood and wrapped plastic shopping bags, 84" x 72" x 72", 2012

Mutant, installation of constructed wood and wrapped plastic shopping bags, 84" x 72" x 72", 2012

Science is disclosing the susceptibility of healthy organic development to the influence of dissolved and discarded contaminants in the landscape.  Plastic grocery bags though ubiquitous are symptoms of a larger insensitivity to the ecological relationships.  In Mutant, they become metaphors for the alterations for the genetic change which contamination inflicts on life cycles.

Mutant

Mutant

Detail of lower carved wooden piece within the field of wrapped plastic grocery bags

Domino House, 14 inches tall (varies with installation), found wooden dominos and miniature house and landscape pieces, 2012

Domino House, 14 inches tall (varies with installation), found wooden dominos and miniature house and landscape pieces, 2012

Houses are not just buildings but containers of memories: spaces fraught with joy or anxiety, scenarios of experiences so intimate that they frame the rest of one’s life. Home ownership is a goal for many Americans; it provides security, an emblem of success, or a tool of wealth accumulation. Domino House notes traumatic loss of home via economic crisis foreclosure or bankruptcy.  The metaphor of an uncertain foundation of precariously positioned wooden dominos which can slip and collapse is true for so many home owners especially now, as our nation is undergoing a major financial crisis.

Domino House, collapsed installation

Domino House, collapsed installation

Curandero (Faith Healer), 84” x 60” x 34” (installation), painted wood, 2011

Curandero (Faith Healer), 84” x 60” x 34” (installation), painted wood, 2011

Spirituality is not derived from an exclusive Judo-Christian tradition.  There are curandero or curandera (faith healers) that tend a harsh landscape haunted by the victims of battles and misfortune. 

Curandero, detail

Curandero, detail

River Demons, 24” x 34” x 34”, paint on wood, 2011

River Demons, 24” x 34” x 34”, paint on wood, 2011

“River Demons” appears to have sinister apparitions of natural motifs, leaves morphing into masks peering over water.  Along the Rio Grande, there are clandestine crossings by smugglers moving drugs or illegal immigrants. Waiting just out of sight, they emerge with their cargo of contraband as soon as the Border Patrol launch motors past a bend in the river.

River Demons detail for water portion

River Demons detail for water portion

“Decapitated Muse”  10.25” x 12” x 12”, painted wood, 2010

“Decapitated Muse” 10.25” x 12” x 12”, painted wood, 2010

For ten years, I lived near the Rio Grande, the brownish green strip of flowing water that divides countries, cultures, families, and landscapes.

“Decapitated Muse” is homage to “Sleeping Muse” by Brancusi.   My sculpture is an ironic reference to the Mexican drug wars when the sleep is permanent and the figure is male.  The Mexican drug lords have a peculiar way of marking territory; they decapitate their rivals and deposit the severed heads in a public area. If the Muse is the classical image of inspiration for creativity, the present situation in Mexico seems to be extinguishing that spark.

“Decapitated Muse”  10.25” x 12” x 12”, painted wood, 2010

“Decapitated Muse” 10.25” x 12” x 12”, painted wood, 2010

For ten years, I lived near the Rio Grande, the brownish green strip of flowing water that divides countries, cultures, families, and landscapes.

“Decapitated Muse” is homage to “Sleeping Muse” by Brancusi.   My sculpture is an ironic reference to the Mexican drug wars when the sleep is permanent and the figure is male.  The Mexican drug lords have a peculiar way of marking territory; they decapitate their rivals and deposit the severed heads in a public area. If the Muse is the classical image of inspiration for creativity, the present situation in Mexico seems to be extinguishing that spark.

Lucha Libre (Free Wrestling), 30” x 18 “ x 11”, mixed media on wood, 2010 (wall mounted)

Lucha Libre (Free Wrestling), 30” x 18 “ x 11”, mixed media on wood, 2010 (wall mounted)

Lucha Libre (Free Wrestling) is a cultural reference to the struggle between the Mexican and American influence in the border area.  The wrestlers of Mexican popular culture (Lucha Libre, Free Wrestling) are costumed in nationalistic colors and seals contending in a prison-art framed diorama. These effigies stand in an imagined area delineated by the recently erected steel wall on the American side; the reinforced frontier designed to keep Mexicans out.

Lucha Libre (Free Wrestling) detail

Lucha Libre (Free Wrestling) detail

Shrine, 22" x 8" x 8", mixed media, 2010

Shrine, 22" x 8" x 8", mixed media, 2010

“Shrine” refers to contemporary patterns of behavior employed by Mexican drug cartels. “Shrine” employs irony by placing a nostalgic vintage postcard with a traditional scene of a zocalo (cathedral square) with peasants in fiesta dress supported by a pile of white dust (cocaine can form white pile).  Kidnapping is a source of revenue for idle cartel enforcers.  To verify to a family that a relative has been detained, a severed finger of the victim is sent with the ransom request.  The vitrine surrounding the postcard and the stand are Mexican handicraft items consistent with the notion, Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico), which is the label placed on all exported products. The fingers are mixed media constructions from kid gloves.

Shrine, detail

Shrine, detail

Bordered Water, Painted, carved and constructed wood, 7 “x 6” x 6”, 2010

Bordered Water, Painted, carved and constructed wood, 7 “x 6” x 6”, 2010

My chosen black surface for water carries with it an ambiguous, obscure or illusive reading.   Its darkness suggests murkiness; therefore, is its depth shallow or deep or is its quality clean or polluted? The inference for water colored black can be described as powerful and frightening.  Any of these descriptions can apply to the Rio Grande. I like the paradox of suggesting that a wooden fence (like those sold at Home Depot) could contain the force of water.  I see the Rio Grande in terms of this metaphor. For ten years, I lived and worked near the Rio Grande, the brownish green strip of flowing water that divides countries, cultures, families, and landscapes.

 

Bordered Water, Painted, carved and constructed wood, 7 “x 6” x 6”, 2010

Bordered Water, Painted, carved and constructed wood, 7 “x 6” x 6”, 2010

​Top view

Buena Vida, 42” x 60” x 60”, installation of constructed wooden house with found clothing and plastic dolls, 2009

Buena Vida, 42” x 60” x 60”, installation of constructed wooden house with found clothing and plastic dolls, 2009

Buena Vida (Good Life) is a less affluent section of Brownsville, not far from my former work place.  It has the highest rate of former offenders, child abusers, and crack users in the town.  It is a congested and worn area.  Some houses were built in the 1920’s, exhibiting Arts and Crafts detailing, vestiges of progressive era housing though modest in scale.  I was taken by the irony of this dichotomy of motifs: from a time of reform juxtaposed with the present actual decadence of a neighborhood corroded by drugs, crime, and poverty.  Using the façade, the front porch and entry of an actual house in the area, I constructed a scaled version (1 inch to 1 foot) with pretentious embellishments.  The original structure is in the inner city.  What if the perfect house was outside the city in the suburbs with grander symmetrical appointments, like a Palladian Villa with porches on every side and a heightened central room?  My constructed replica suggests a pleasure palace of old where the recreational activities of the owner could be enjoyed.  The more I studied the Buena Vida subdivision as a living space, the more the paradox of the title lingered with me.   The community is burdened by the collapse of families, the loss of responsible adult role models, and the pragmatic maintenance of the houses; beauty is a phantom.  This awareness urged me to consider the interior; my version of the original house became a reliquary containing effigies of the beautiful people whom we all wish to be; however, these are encased in a white powder (cocaine is a white powder and is sold in this area) crammed into the central room whose roof opens for inspection.  Brownsville has a thriving used clothing market, like that of a third world.  Some of the residents of the area are part of this ad hoc industry of independent retailers selling the cast-offs of the more prosperous upstate communities.  The ropas usadas (used clothing), dresses, shoes, and t-shirts, appear as the skins of others which form mounds in warehouses sold to passers-by.  My Buena Vida is positioned on such a landscape of former lives.

Buena Vida (Good Life)

Buena Vida (Good Life)

​View of interior space.

Conejos y Zanahorias(Rabbits and Carrots), 10.5” x 30” x 24”, installation of brass, welded steel & cast aluminum (found materials) with ceramic, 2009

Conejos y Zanahorias(Rabbits and Carrots), 10.5” x 30” x 24”, installation of brass, welded steel & cast aluminum (found materials) with ceramic, 2009

Conejos y Zanahorias” is an installation of found and constructed objects.  On regular forays to a local flea market (La Pulga), I discover things which piqued my interest as containing a unique reflection of the time.  The cast brass bunnies, cast aluminum alligator and welded cage were such finds.  By situating the metal pieces in a shaped field of constructed colored, ceramic carrots in the outline of the United States, I realize that, as a grouping, they communicate political issues related to immigration from below the southern border.  To my perception, this movement of people is fueled by economics: the need to pay rent, to buy food and clothing, and to pay for school (in Mexico, there are fees for educating children).

Conejos y Zanahorias(Rabbits and Carrots), 10.5” x 30” x 24”, installation of brass, welded steel & cast aluminum (found materials) with ceramic, 2009

Conejos y Zanahorias(Rabbits and Carrots), 10.5” x 30” x 24”, installation of brass, welded steel & cast aluminum (found materials) with ceramic, 2009

​Detail

Ninos (Boys), 15’ x 12’ x 8”, found toys, wire, wooden wheels, 2008 (wall mounted)

Ninos (Boys), 15’ x 12’ x 8”, found toys, wire, wooden wheels, 2008 (wall mounted)

In Ninos, models for  young boys are active and focused in collective sport activities  and have routines which rival religious dedication.  There is a mock spirituality of daily physical work-outs. Rebuffing saints, the regiment becomes devotions to the figures of Bat Man, Superman, or any of the plethora of bodily over developed male figures that manifest metaphysical powers to solve problems.  Ninos (Boys) is a rosary of prayer beads supplanted by super-heroes and racing cars that guide the youthful novitiate through the rigors of baseball practice to achieve fame.

Ninos ( Boys), detail of rosary section

Ninos ( Boys), detail of rosary section

Neighbors, 6" x 12" x 38", paint on wood  2008

Neighbors, 6" x 12" x 38", paint on wood 2008

“Neighbors” is a small work; its scale is one inch to one foot. The work deals with class and the accoutrements of status as demonstrated by personal space. Zoning is lax in some American cities so these three situations might potentially occur in the same communities: a yard enclosed by a masonry wall with pavers to support an Adirondack chair, an old refrigerator carton in a service alley, and a wooden “Home Depot” fence with a “Wal-Mart” plastic lawn chair. Social status as related to class has ephemeral quality; one can drop in the social register via foreclosure or bankruptcy especially now, as our nation is undergoing a major financial crisis.

 

Crossing the Game, 5" x 43" x 43", paint on wood, 2008

Crossing the Game, 5" x 43" x 43", paint on wood, 2008

“Crossing: the Game” is an interactive installation.  The viewer/participant actually walks on the sculpted water.  Water is a recurring motif in my work. For ten years, I lived near the Rio Grande, the brownish green strip of flowing water that divides countries, cultures, families, and landscapes.  Initially, I saw this work only in terms of immigration over the southern border, the topical political issue of the illegal entry into the United States. The metaphor of “tick-tack-toe” referencing the chance taken by many individuals attempting to illegally cross the Rio Grande; they are caught and try again the next day.  

I realize that it has broader implications for me. In many spiritual traditions, water plays a major role in the faith of the believer.  The biblical reference of the loss of faith by Peter results in his sinking into Lake Galilee. In language, one can describe a change in life’s journey, as a process. “Crossing: the Game” can suggest this awareness.  Whether associated with actual or mythic events, water spurs the imagination. The installation offers pathways through the collection of water, a series of choices to be made.  This piece makes tangible the implications of our decisions.

Though larger than my usual scale, my regard for the individual’s perception is the still the most valuable portion of the work.  He or she will move through the piece, conceptualize it, and come to some personal conclusions about its context.

Weed, 6" x 12" x 12", paint on wood 2007

Weed, 6" x 12" x 12", paint on wood 2007

Weeds are the ubiquitous plants of a locality; in another area, the same species are prized for their uniqueness.  They are exotic. “Weed” looks like a square of sod; however, the blades of grass are infiltrated with alien plants.  Not really the same as the rest, these not-so-similar growths have leaves like human appendages. They are weeds.

Dead Man, 20” x 24” x 62”, installation of painted wooden modules, 2005

Dead Man, 20” x 24” x 62”, installation of painted wooden modules, 2005

The nopal,  cactus pad, can be seen as an appendage, a human hand in the mysticism of the Valley of Texas. I see memorials on the roadside with plastic flowers and dedications to remind the passer-by the fate of an individual.  What if the endless outcroppings of cactus plants which form textured mounds on the flat surface of the Southwest chaparrals (wild open fields) were also markers of the dead.  Persons long lost to some undisclosed accident.

Dead Man, 20” x 24” x 62”, installation of painted wooden modules, 2005

Dead Man, 20” x 24” x 62”, installation of painted wooden modules, 2005

Detail of a portion

Nopale con Espinas (Cactus Pad with Thorns), 12" x 60" x 30" paint on wood 2005

Nopale con Espinas (Cactus Pad with Thorns), 12" x 60" x 30" paint on wood 2005

The nopale or cactus pad is ubiquitous in south Texas.  The indigenous population has a magical regard for the spiritual; appearances of forms can change.  So it is with my interpretation of the nopale.  It becomes a weapon.  The view from the upper portion of the country of the southmost border is a mirage of vulnerability. There is a compulsion to fortify this space.