BFA, 1993, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; MFA, 1996, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. Exhibitions: Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles; Dorsky Projects, New York City; Geocarto International, Hong Kong; Printworks Gallery, Chicago; Delta College, Delta, MI; Parkland College, Champaign, IL. Publications: The Hand Magazine; PhotoEd; Stereoscopy. Bibliography: Master Class: Photoshop, Adobe Press; Glimmer: The Haunting of the Graham House; 3D Art and Photography: The First Five Years, 3D Center. Collections: Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; Mary and Leigh Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Flanders Gallery, Raleigh, NC. Awards: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty (college wide), College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL; Part Time Faculty Development Grant, Columbia College, Chicago, IL; Individual Artist Grant, Illinois Arts Council.
My research has two distinct tracks. These areas of focus may seem quite different in many ways, but they are connected by themes of isolation and disconnection. In the past few years I have been investigating spaces – farmlands, cityscapes, towns – which are almost completely devoid of people. For years prior to this I have created narrative tableaus involving the paranormal and metaphysical connections between solitary people. One avenue of work is documentary, observational, exterior, and people are absent, and the other is directorial, narrative, interior, and with people as primary subjects.
With my work involving exterior spaces I seek to depict places which are ordinary, even banal, but resonate with both a majesty and a sense of isolation. These spaces have included urban alleys, spacious farmscapes, and the rural towns between the two.
In my ongoing series, Farmlandia, I’m depicting the vast expanses of farms in the heart of the Midwest – glacially flat plains extending as far as the lens can see. In another ongoing series, Down State, I’m investigating small towns which sit in between these vast farmscapes. These towns are small and often appear to be arrested in time, and yet they are the villages where the farming communities come together; semi urban centers. Seen at night and through fog, the cloudy glow of streetlights mingles with the deep shadows, orbs of energy in the dark expanse. In an earlier series, Being Nowhere, I looked at spaces in the city at night, somewhere between an office and a house, between here and there. They are places one might park a car during the day, or throw something in a dumpster, or simply pass through on the way to the store. They are ordinary, utilitarian places, often out of sight. But in the deep night, where the streetlights mix with the dim persistent glow of the city, I find a landscape that, while lonely and deserted, takes on an otherworldly power. In each of these series I’m portraying spaces which I find ethereal and surreal.
The ethereal and surreal are addressed more overtly in my other work: narrative images which imagine and investigate paranormal phenomena. This work has two significant components: the images themselves, and the installations when the work is exhibited. My narratives deal with characters in personal isolation, yet seeking (and sometimes finding) metaphysical connections. The installations present these narratives pseudo-historically, weaving together fact and fiction. I seek to blur the line between the two with supporting documents, both authentic and counterfeit. Writing plays a large part in my installations in the form of curatorial text, presenting (or misrepresenting) the images and ephemera to the audience. In doing so, I mean to question the role of the museum and curator in our perception of truth, and I allow the viewer, even momentarily, to accept the impossible. A Case of Levitation tells the story of a Frances Naylor, who had lost her legs as a toddler due to a circulatory issue. When Frances was thirteen she began having intense dreams that she was able to walk. One morning, as she woke from such a vivid dream, Frances leapt out of bed and found that she was able to levitate. Though her mother would not allow Frances to levitate outside their home, her father recorded this phenomenon with his camera. In a recent narrative series, Glimmer, I’ve depicted a family who live in a Victorian house which they share with an unusual housemate. The ghost of a young woman from the early 20th century resides in various reflections, plainly though silently visible to all. Each member of the family has a different relationship with the woman, reflecting what is missing from their lives. With these narratives, I mean to entertain the viewer and immerse them in impossible stories. At the same time, my installations I open a dialectic of history, factual accuracy, museums, and pseudoscience. The exhibitions of these narratives are both collections of individual images, and cohesive narrative installations.
Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.