The shifting pattern of sheets and pillows can be seen as a cloudy sky, and the stray clothes as mountainous features.
Like Alfred Stieglitz' images of skies in "Equivalents," these photographs of a bed, taken every morning, record a kind of emotional barometer—twisted, bared, nestled, smooth—of the state of a relationship.
With their radiant circles, these images of refuse evoke the aureoles (diminutive of Latin aurea, "golden") or halos in paintings of sacred figures.
In Christian paintings, a luminous cloud envelops the whole body or just the head, where it would appear as a round halo or nimbus—a kind of crown.
These photographs of trash bins, however, look down instead of up, toward the earthy, random debris at our feet. They are closer to profane than sacred.
Pigment prints in round white frames, 20" x 20".
These images of university chalkboards, shot at the end of the day, reveal layers of erasures and reworking that mirror the learning process.
At times abstract as a cloud chamber, at others almost bare or starkly instructive, the "Glyphs" are reminiscent of cave drawings or ancient texts. Some are immediately readable and some are frustratingly opaque.
The photographs explore how language and memory hold onto ideas. In an era of electronic whiteboards, the green hue evokes a certain nostalgia. You can almost smell the chalk dust hanging in the air.
Pigment ink on canvas, 36" x 46".
In the tradition of German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, who documented variations in industrial structures such as grain silos and water tanks, GUT JOB seeks to describe the typology of houses gutted for renovation in my city of Somerville, MA, across the river from Boston.
The deadpan presentation, similar to the Bechers’ grids, belies the violent social and cultural upheaval of gutting single and multifamily dwellings and converting them to luxury condos or residences.
This predatory practice rips apart the fabric of working class neighborhoods.
Shot in the windows of tony shopping districts, Still Life exposes the emptiness of extreme privilege. The featureless mannequins, devoid of expression and in some cases even heads, are superimposed against the reflections of anonymous buildings and deep blue sky.
They wear bikinis and designer gowns, exotic get-ups and casual daywear. But the overall effect of this street-level surrealism is that of zombies trapped in an abandoned cityscape. No humans, or human feeling, can be found anywhere.
Alone or in small groups, they aim to survive and offer cold comfort, like the touch of an elbow, to their fellow robotic simulacrums.
Taken at the edge of the street where debris lies buried in slush, or in a shallow pool riven by fractures, these images look like archealogical slices. You can peer into the layers and make out crumbled leaves, stones, wrappers, and even a few handwritten notes. A miniature landscape is revealed.
"Slices" is all about decay and transition. For a few months in late winter and early spring, water and earth and pavement merge and undergo an almost alchemical transition. These photographs capture—and freeze—a few of those moments.
Symbolically, a broken branch represents a life cut short—often seen on the gravestone of a youth.
These found branches also function as partial portraits, as if the limbs shorn from classical statues were displayed on their own: a record of stress and decay.
Viewed close up, in crisp detail, each torn branch is an individual momento mori of life's transience.
These religious statues in the front yards of Somerville, MA, are like colorful relics of past generations, a way of life that is slowly vanishing.
In some statues the chipped plaster and peeling paint show the passing of time, while in others the lush gardens and elaborate displays attest to the owner's care.
My close-up photographs document their flaws as I try to make eye contact with each icon, as if in communion.
In a parody of 17th-century Dutch still life vanitas paintings, which both celebrated the luxuries of upper class pronkstilleven (Dutch for “ostentatious still life”) and warned of life’s impermanence, “McVanitas” is a modern American version, juxtaposing a middle class Big Mac and fries against traditional elements such as candles, fine linen, a skull, grapes, pearls and a silver platter—all set in a dramatic landscape.
The Big Mac itself functions as a moral on the ephemerality of sensory pleasures, as witnessed in the documentary Supersize Me. Such mingling of class and privilege takes on a new spin in the era of Trump and his Versaille-like Fifth Avenue Tower where he indulges in fast food.
On these embroidered linen pillows, questions arise about the nature of sleep and the quality of solitude:
- Whose Shadow Has Trailed You Home? - Why Is Sleep Still Here? - Which House, Silent, Surrounds You? - Who Listens For The Faintest Echo? - What Is The Dark Jealous Of? - When Does The Day Turn Away? - How Many Nights Refuse To Answer You? - In The Early Hours, What Lies Ahead? - What Remains, What Goes, What Eludes Us? - Between What's Known And Not, How To Act? - Which Flaws May Come To Light?
Gray thread embroidered on gray linen, 12" x 16" x 5".
Hazards of Modern Living
"Hazards of Modern Living" comments on the culture of fear in the post-9/11 era. At times absurd or chilling, the signs caution us to avoid dangers such as lightning, falling planes, and drowning—as well as apparently innocuous objects like forks, clocks and sad books.
At the center, suffering all these fates, is a stoic, Buster Keaton-like Everyman, familiar from Men’s Room signs. Blank, expressionless, he is restricted to several poses: flailing, running, and sitting or standing unawares.
Printed on aluminum, these industrial-like hazard signs warn us to be careful of almost everything.
Get the most out of your public messages! Display these bold signs proudly on your wall, in the yard, or indoors as a stand-alone piece of verbal sculpture.
Are the messages in FLASH BANG warnings or helpful directions? An anonymous cultural critique or distillation of violence? Should we head toward them or run away?
These eye-catching yellow-and-black signs on sturdy corrugated plastic hold up in all kinds of weather.
Double-sided, with messages that flip on the reverse side, FLASH BANG signs may be mounted on the wall, displayed in the yard using a 3'-high metal stand that inserts in the ground, or this stand may be used indoors with a custom aluminum base. (12 "x 2" x .75").