the reclamation project
The reclamation series grew first and foremost out of my love of stories. Stories shape us into the people that we are. They profoundly form our identities, experiences and actions. They even infect our morals and decision-making process. And no matter what, we are always part of a story. In some way we are interwoven into other peoples stories even as we are trying to write (or re-write) our own stories. We are a story people.
And things have stories as well. They have history and interaction; they wear and tear and become used. I love things that tell a story, worn things, things that have been loved or have in the course of fulfilling their purpose become marred by time. When I see an old shelf with gauges from where someone had terrible aim with a hammer, or spills of an indiscernible nature and square head nails that speak to a time before mass production; I see the histories that shelf could tell about the people and lives that encountered it. In the Reclamation series I wanted to keep the scarring of time inherent in the wood and discarded materials I use and enhance the beauty I see in that through giving it a new purpose. The wood used as substrates in the series come from old doors, walls, shelves, really anything I can confidently cut and sand a bit.
We are a disposable culture, often valuing the new and shiny at the expense of our planet. We cast aside the slightly worn, throwing it in the bin that magically gets emptied each week, never giving it a second thought once it’s gone. But there is inherit beauty in things that are worn with age, a patina of value in it’s continued use. In creating this series I am trying to keep a little less stuff from entering our landfills and drawing attention to the ways in which we can reclaim the things around us.
In these works I adorn the salvaged story-wood with story-paintings creating a juxtaposition of two forms of beauty. The aesthetic beauty of a painting and the abstract beauty of the wearing of time. Each piece in unique in it’s size and substrate. The wood is cut, sanded, and cleaned before I determine which side to paint on. Small cracks, nail holes (maybe even the nails), and knots are evidence of the previous life of the wood and add to the story of each piece. Each painting is varnished and ready to hang.
In the end this work is about time and use and beauty in unexpected places. They are the continuing of a story after it seems that it has come to an end, an epilogue captured in paint.