Inspired by the literature of the past, but striving to contend with the political realities of the world today, myth and icon structure my narrative explorations. Joseph Campbell claims that in myth our consciousness is put in touch with the unconscious, that something archetypal surfaces. Layering these archetypes with the language of psychedelia creates an otherworldly experience about both the inward turn of self- consciousness and travel between this world and another. Where neon and fluorescents carry cultural associations to psychotropic drugs, pastels instead call to mind something of the artificial sweetness of nostalgia.
My recent work revels in the dualities of partnership, spirit and embodiment, and specific places as sites of slippage between the real and the imagined. This is a vision filled with rivers and waterfalls, mirrors and passages, all to allow movement into the ‘other’ place of story without losing sight of own physical world. This may take sculptural form as a candy-coated pile of ruins that serve as both manifesto and call to arms, or altered spaces for people to reflect and wonder. This work draws from a range of sources including the Sonnets to Orpheus by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke and the music of Canadian black metal artists Woods of Ypres.
I have been focused on Orpheus as the archetype of creative energy, given new life through the late Woods of Ypres vocalist and musician David Gold (1980-2011). Before his early death Gold wrote with a world-weary sensibility that we have historically associated with wanderers and prophets, martyrs and saints. I hope to confront directly the source of my inspiration, to treat my interests with both respect and criticality. Can the obsessive cultic theatricality of black metal stand up to the pop palette of Katy Perry or Nicki Minaj? A healthy society has discursive room for both ends of the spectrum and the suggested spaces between.
My previous participation in underground music communities fostered an appreciation for the theatricality of extreme music and subcultures of resistance, a theatricality that reveals an aggressive unrest with the world as it is and a longing to remake the world according to different principles. There is something of the almost anarchic individualism of Henry David Thoreau in black metal, something of the hermetic forest walker that finds greater solace in nature than in social custom.
I am searching for a form of productive ambivalence: neither to fetishize sincerity nor to revert to irony alone. Simply put, I am trying to somehow navigate the immediacy and accessibility proliferated through a post-internet era that attempts to say something relevant about outdated binaries. I have found myself moving toward the historic excesses of the baroque as I seek the creative tension between decadence and restraint. When the legacies of Modernism and mid-century chic encounter the blasphemy of kitsch, new potentialities emerge. As I map the surreal landscapes of these mass culture mythologies, more complex and ambivalent meanings take form.