My process often begins with a visual representation of a corporate entity – a logo, an advertisement, or a promotional object. I trace production histories, molecular origins, and bodily responses to the material. Using multiple media including painting, sculpture, video, and installation, I explore within each a wide range of materials including found objects, chemicals, and appropriated advertisements. This multiplicity of methodologies allows me to capture the impact upon our bodies of targeted corporate engineering. The images we view, the chemicals we consume, and the objects we purchase are equal sources of pleasure and liberation, addiction and control.
An example of this is my longstanding interest in pharmaceuticals. In my recent series of figurative, violently abstracted “Death Mask” sculptures, I simultaneously scar and embed clay and wax forms with contemporary objects – pills, bottle caps, credit cards. These composites are then cast in a mixture of plastic and pulverized antidepressants, birth control, Viagra, and ADHD medication. The final forms, human scale and larger, are thus made up of simultaneous additive and subtractive representations of these pharmaceutical elements, and literally infused with the molecular materials that help produce their form.
In another recent body of work, entitled “Pharmaceutical Self-Portraits”, I use the banal images of actors in advertisements as source material, aggressively layering paints that echo the specific colors of pills and logos, likewise mixed with various ground pharmaceuticals and chemicals. I connect the intertwined histories of paint and pharmaceuticals and explore their shared progression from handmade and ritualistic to synthetic and corporate.
In my video work, I appropriate, splice, and layer commercial advertisements for various drugs into hypnotic, nauseating compositions. For instance, in “Side Effects” I cut out the lists of possible adverse reactions to drugs listed by law in every pharmaceutical commercial and join them together, creating a massive list of unpleasant bodily reactions joined with their original banal images. In a work like “Pharmakon 2016”, I overlap multiple advertisements and web-based animations to create a cacophony of sounds and images.
Individual pieces can stand on their own but are most powerful when installed in symmetrical, ritualistic arrangements. The results are relics of the present that contain both literal and poetic traces of these objects which are discreetly flowing through our lives, slipping into us without our thinking about it.