Drawing, glass, and light: these three ingredients are the basis of my work. I begin with drawing, which sometimes becomes an end in itself. But often the images are sandblasted onto glass panels, lit along the edge by LED strips, and displayed in steel frames or stands, or suspended. The effect is to marry glass and light with image, so as to create a vibration between transparency and opacity, looking at and looking through. The glass functions simultaneously as a window, a mirror, and a surface imprinted with images. The images themselves are composed of lines (of poetry, of thought, of gestures), broken into dots or pulses. When the LEDs shine through the etched panels, the dots glow, forming multiple light-paths, making vivid the shifting perspectives that haunt our “readings” of the world.
In combining LED technology with traditional art-making techniques, such as drawing and sandblasting I explore technology’s potential as an expressive device, not an end itself. I’ve found that RGB LEDs not only add color to the images on the glass panels but also create an aura of color that reaches into the surrounding space. In recent work, I am able to enhance the tonal shifts caused by changes in the ambient light, so that the colors alter subtly as the daylight fades, or with the shadows of passersby. Recently, I have been making glass castings of vintage oil cans, casting them in colorful glass and setting them, singly, in small groupings, or in vitrines for architectural settings, and displaying them on lightboxes. So far I have created about 90, no two alike. The series is called Little Oil, obviously alluding to Big Oil, and/or Small Oils, as in oil painting. But “oil” can mean many things and set atop lightboxes, where each work glows from within, these pieces can seem more like vessels of light itself. Oil has been a source of light (sometimes from deplorable sources) since ancient times as well as a source of eternal light in many faith traditions. Plant and nut oils have been used for myriad other purposes, all in distinct contrast to the massive depredations of Big Oil. In addition, as I have been making these pieces, they have sometimes seem to transcend their relation to oil altogether, appearing anthropomorphic or creaturely, or even biological. But lately, I have been thinking of them as archeological artifacts, relics of a past civilization.