First and foremost I want to underscore an important point in the production and exhibition of my work. As an artist I am most interested in the hand made quality of objects. This hand made quality invariably includes many imperfections and blemishes. While I applaud those glass workers who labor to create pristine and optically perfect glass products, I find that such endeavors create a certain sterility and impersonality in the work. My inspiration comes from those artists who accept and embrace the imperfections and contamination that come from working with materials on a more visceral and primitive level.
I can’t explain my love and fascination for glass, but some things do stand out. The first is that glass is transparent. This gives me the opportunity to create objects that transmit imagery both from within and without. I find this to be a wonderful way to explore the idea of human experience not as a simple response to the outer “objective” world, but also as a creative interaction between the outer “objective” and the inner “subjective” worlds of human experience. The transparency of glass allows me to juxtapose images that represent these two polarities in human experience.
Another element of my love and fascination with glass has to do with its rudimentary and ancient genesis. Glass is essentially a low-tech material. Our modern world has transformed glass into a very hi-tech material, but as an artist, it’s humble beginnings are much more interesting to me. Glass is a palimpsest, a record of its own creation. The purity or impurity of materials and simplicity of technology in its creation lead to inclusion in the glass of all kinds of “foreign” bodies, such as cords, stones, veils, surface marks and other items of optical interest. For me, all these imperfections only add to the interest and complexity of the sculptures themselves. Some people call these imperfections “mistakes”. I believe in the adage that “mistakes are gods way of improving my design.” The richness and life they imbue are to my way of thinking immeasurable.
Another important element in the creation of my work is my belief in the primacy of the image itself. Through my studies in comparative religion, mythology, psychology and mysticism, I’ve discovered that images are enervating objects of human existence. Images, like dreams, are above and beyond “interpretation”. They are in themselves whole, complete and impenetrable. The fact is we experience life not in words but in images. For me the essence of art is images, not because they’re pretty or nice, but because they support our biology and sociology themselves. What this means is clear when we look at the history of human conflict. Military dominance of one culture over another is only the first step in “conquest”. What is ultimately required to destroy a culture is to destroy that cultures images, or to replace the conquered cultures images with those of the conquerors’. In other words we are not who we think we are, rather we are who we imagine ourselves to be. This is not simply semantics, but the reality of the primacy of images to create a culture in which human beings can exist and flourish.
Another element that finds its way into my work is the cacophony of design elements. For me the use of so many design elements that constantly change form and color and expose the imperfections of their creation express what I believe to be a basic element of human communication. Every word that we utter, every sentence that we create is colored by a myriad of subliminal and undetectable currents, informed by our culture, our experience and our singular existence. For me, design and pattern represent the modes of human communication and expression, a huge and complex tapestry of exclamation and inference that requires the deepest of our intuitive capabilities to decipher. Is it any wonder that miscommunication is so common?
Ultimately my sculptures must be seen as inscrutable and indecipherable wholes. They are not about anything, but are the things themselves. The titles I give them can be imagined as keyholes through which viewers can peer to see the larger yet indescribable totality. In the end that totality depends on the viewers themselves. The ultimate power of images is that they light different fuses in different people. The responses to my work that I have received and the connections to the images presented that viewers have made have been totally unexpected. My response has been that if people can connect to this work in ways that I cannot even imagine, then I must be doing something right. My job is to connect with the images as honestly and authentically as I can. I know that when I am surprised by my own creations, then others will find in them associations with their own experiences that are just as honest and authentic.
Another thing to understand about my work is the way I try to conceal and yet present images, patterns and colors to the viewer. It takes a while to see all the various images and designs that emanate from within my sculptures. Upon closer and closer inspection you’ll find images and designs within the pieces that you hadn’t noticed before. I’ve had collectors tell me about images they’d found years after they owned the pieces. This is part of the wonder and joy of my work, that no matter how well you may think you know the piece, it’ll end up surprising you just as much as it surprises me.
As you know it takes me many months to create a body of work for a one-man show. The work represented in this exhibition stems from labors that begin in January of 2001. Needless to say the events of September 11th have left an indelible mark on my psyche and my soul. I was finishing the piece “Nineveh (Crystal Tower)” when the attack on America occurred. I found myself relieved that I could come up to my studio and work alone while listening to the unfolding of the events during the first few days. After I’d completed work on “Nineveh (Crystal Tower)” I found it impossible to work on anything else for a period of about two weeks. All I could do was attempt to digest the enormity of the events and the consequences our lives after Sept. 11th.  I completed the pieces “Oracle of Siwa” and “ Ammons’ Staff” after this period. While I can’t explain the relevance of these pieces to the events of Sept 11th I am certain that they represent my own inner workings and attempts to come to grips with the enormity of the changes that the date 9/11 represents. In a way I see “Nineveh (Crystal Tower)” as a last expression of my naïve and innocent American worldview.
These are some of the influences that are embodied in the work you now have at the gallery. I hope they give you some insight into their meaning while at the same time they give you a way to view and enjoy the pieces in a more critical light.