Monday, October 17, 2011


Marble Mountain, 38.5 x 51.5",
Acrylic and vinyl on stretched fabric, 2011

What are you working on in your studio right now?

Recently I just moved to a new studio, so I am beginning a number of projects.  I am working on a series of small paintings on plaster, tablet-like panels.  I view these paintings as a testing site.  I am thinking about ideas and combinations of material through them.  In addition to the smaller works, I have started a large wall installation that combines a number of materials in a woven-like structure that hangs off the wall.  I don’t know where this project is going yet, but it is starting to form organically- reacting to each section that came before it.  Besides these planned projects I am also making miscellaneous studies- drawings, small sculptures, and collage.  Today I have this idea to make a fish tank with no fish, more of a viewing tank for material.  That is as far as I have gotten, but we will see where it goes.  The fake material of fish tanks interests me- the fake wood, rocks, and plants that make up the environment.  I find it strangely similar to the fake materials that we surround ourselves with in homes- linoleum, vinyl, synthetics that are supposed to be stand-ins for the actual.

Brooklyn studio part of the Marie Walsh Sharpe
Art Foundation’s Space Program

Can you describe your working routine?

My working routine has also recently changed dramatically.  I moved to Brooklyn, New York and started a new job as well as a studio residency program.  I am working during the day as a carousel operator, so I work in the studio at night.  It often takes me a few hours to warm up; I usually just have to meander around a while before I get in the zone.  I go to the studio almost everyday even if it is for a short time, I feel like I just have to check in visually.  In terms of how the work progresses, I am always working on small studies and the plaster paintings.  The larger wall installations I usually work on one or two at a time.  It is good for me to have a lot of different things going so there are various types of activities.  This way when I come to the studio there is always something I can do depending on if I feel like sitting on the floor working on something small versus climbing on a ladder and drilling something into the wall.

The Remnants,7 x 11ft, Acrylic, wood, carpet, plaster,
and window blinds on wall, 2011

Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio space is very important to my work.  I have a lot of stuff that I surround myself with when I am working, so it is crucial for me to make the space feel like home.  My studio has a large pile of material in it that is the source of all of my work.  The stuff in the pile is like my pallet, a batch of raw material that is a source of inspiration as well as the actual stuff that goes into the work.  The pile dictates how my studio is set up because it is kept separate from where the work is made.  Material gets extracted from the pile, and then it is taken away form the pile to be further examined.  I have 2 walls in my studio that I make large wall installations on and then the other walls I hang up smaller work as well as drawings and studies.  While I work there is always music on- all kinds of music, but always loud.

paintings on plaster tablets

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

Things evolve in various ways for me.  The initial base is that I am always looking for new material for my pile.  The material is found, bought, parts, pieces, bits, old, and new.  There is no criteria except for material that interests me and that I want to look at further.  Most of the time the material stays in the pile a long time before it goes into a piece.  So, my process begins with this pile of stuff.  I often take something from the pile I want to work with and then begin to make drawings.  Once I have some sort of idea, I being to construct.  Most of the time the piece rarely sticks to any sort of plan, it changes dramatically throughout the process. 

What are you having the most trouble resolving?

I have an interest in incorporating knitted fabric into my work.  I make a lot of knit fabric on a knitting machine and haven’t yet figured out a way to incorporate that language into my work.  Right now, the knitted work stays very separate from my other work.  So, I hope eventually to figure out a way to tie it into the work in a way that makes sense.

The Samples (Installation View)
Dimensions vary, Plaster, acrylic, and foam, 2010

Sample 2, 13 x 18", Plaster, foam, and acrylic, 2010

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?

I experiment with different materials often; really every piece is a new experiment.  The parameters I see in the work are its relationship to the wall.  I am interested in how the work relates to the 2D world of painting.  Even though my work is very sculptural, I see the work in a stage-like viewing space where the viewer is coming at the work from a specific direction rather than the work being seen in the round.

What does the future hold for this work?

The future of the work is very unknown to me.  I think this year living in Brooklyn is going to really influence my work in new ways not yet known to me.  I suspect that the work will continue to explore the boundaries between painting and sculpture as well as my interest in home building materials relating to abstract painting.  I see my work having everything to do with abstract painting except the paint and stretcher bars.  I hope to explore this idea more.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I just want to say thank you for this interview, it was fun talking with you about my work and process. 

The Burial (Installation View) Dimensions Variable, 2011