Looking at a recent National Geographic magazine article on identical twins where pictures of twins were placed side by side, it occurred to me that I am trying to elicit the same response as the authors of the article. The pictures of identical twins showed how un-identical they were. When comparing two similar things, perception becomes more acute. Differences become noticeable. The more subtle the difference, the more nagging the similarities. I want to work on the edge of perception, where the struggle to see differences highlights what is there.
I spend a good deal of time looking for wood, both in lumber yards and driving in rural Ohio looking at old barns. I love how wood holds the memory of its growth within its grain, and how wood decays to reveal its growth structure. Once I find the wood with the right texture or grain, I try to highlight the nature of the wood as I construct the piece.
I am interested in the tension of creating a rectangle that is almost a square. The form is projecting in such a way that perspective seems wrong as you move around it. This is just a trick of the eye, but is creates a pause. This is strongly related to Chashitsu Architecture, where in Japanese Tea houses and gardens slight visual tricks are intended to pull one into the present moment. I am looking for a contemporary version of a 14th century Japanese aesthetic, honoring nature and confounding perception.
I sketch a good bit to find forms and patterns that are quiet, yet interesting. I want the forms to be just what they are, forms…nothing fancy. The structure of how they are built should be apparent. Within this simplicity should be something that makes you look twice. Once I have the sketch, I use a template to cut out the pieces on a table saw. They are joined at angles in a variety of ways. Often I sand the pieces prior to joining them, but if I have not, I will sand the new wood. The new wood is usually finished with paste wax. Sometimes I paint the wood or add materials into the surface.
My work is strongly related to the craft aesthetic yet is not functional, it is reminiscent of American family farms yet it is strongly aligned with traditional Japanese aesthetics, and it is formal, reductive, and in its own way – lush.