Flowers have many functions in our natural environment. They act as protection for seeds and allow for self-propagation by attracting pollinators with their color and scent. Some flowers have infrared color markings that can only be seen by bees or birds. Among humans, flowers are ritual symbols of purity, consolation, and hope. My deeply personal relationship with flowers began when a family member suffered a traumatic brain injury in the Spring of 2016. Aside from the flowers that were sent to their hospital room, I took breaks from being at their side and went outdoors to a flower bed in front of the hospital. It was here that I soaked in the vibrant color of these forms. Trauma has a way of sharpening our awareness and cracking open our perception. Staring into these flowers, it was as if I were staring directly into the source of all life. It filled me up and gave me hope. For more info on the works that came from this time please see the following projects: Flowers for A, Freshly Shredded Flowers.
My most recent work titled Immortal Chromatic carries on many of my previous themes and concerns. I begin by digitally photographing a flower arrangement that contains a species which holds its color even after dying or being cut off from it’s earthly sustenance. I digitally slice up this initial capture into a grid and then create physical instant film modules. Each instant film tile is cut and or burned as it develops. I also use the sun and a magnifying glass to burn the tiles so the intensity of the light at the time of making is reflected in the burns across the tiles. I use the light source which allows most images to be made to instead disrupt and scar the photo-object. Much like a wound transforms in to the sculptural scar, this is a nod to the inherent creation that arises out of a destructive act or traumatic event. While these processes violently disrupt the image, they also create new “blooms.” Returning to the idea of compression of multiple moments into singular, physical works, I see the spontaneous cuts I make as alternate timelines for the internal image. The image can have a multitude of directions depending on how I cut it. All of the cuts I make are unplanned so there is a record of my spontaneous choices. This speaks to how a traumatic event can alter who we become in various ways. We also make choices in terms of how we react to challenging events, which, in turn, creates a specific timeline. Cutting the one-of-a-kind instant film modules also feels pleasantly irreverent! The final works are mosaics that contain a dance between the orderly capture of a still life and spontaneous destruction.
My goal with these works is to speak to the inherent creation that arises out of disruption, fuse disparate moments, and to create previously unexplored photographic objects. These objects are records of my personal process and control (or lack thereof) over my own healing. Like all humans, I have experienced traumas in my life. Like the song goes, we are spirits in a material world. Our bodies are bruised, beaten and scarred over this lifetime, but there is a deeper part of us that heals over and over and is not bound by time or space.