Through the use of different processes, I assume a period of contemplation where the value of everyday objects, places, and people who are undervalued or invisible are re-evaluated and re-presented. By the production and exhibition of my work, I impart value where none seems to be given, creating a world where value is re-inserted into everyday objects.

Hannah Arendt (2000) has stated:

In the sphere of fabrication itself, there is only one kind of object to which the unending chain of means and ends does not apply, and this is to works of art, the most useless and, at the same time, the most durable thing human hands can produce. (177) 

She suggests that because an art object is removed from the cycle of commodities in usage, its durability gives it the highest form of value among man-made things. My desire is to bestow durability and value to the subjects and objects I investigate through my artistic practice. Through a process of examination and re-contextualization, I transform these mundane subjects into larger social concerns. Previous projects have included: Drag King Trading Cards, the documenting and manufacturing of a photographic archive of contemporary gender performances; and, My Life With Pamela Anderson, an alternate reading of the sex icon through life-sized cross-stitched portraits.

Learning a new skill is an important part of my process, whether computational, technological or craft based. I use these skills to reproduce objects and re-introduce them into the world of everyday usage. I am interested in current discussions about “reskilling”: an investigation of the value of labour after the “deskilling” that occurred within modernism. German expressionist artist Emil Nolde is often quoted as stating: “In art I fight for unconscious creation. Labor destroys painting.” (16) I am interested in how “reskilling” may oppose ideas of the ‘artist as genius’ and what that means for artists today.

I enjoy making work that is accessible, both in its interpretation and appreciation of meaning. These same concerns can be found in craft, folk or ‘low’ art.  I often create multiples to speak of the manufacturing process and to re-position the works into the social contexts from which their value was originally denounced.

I use tools and technology designed to increase human productivity in non-conformist ways to complete time-consuming tasks. Recent projects include: using an embroidery machine to produce dozens of stills for a video, which shortens the process of embroidery yet lengthens the process of video making; and, using a traditional floor loom to weave replicas of paper products, such as lined A4 paper and recycled paper towels. 

Through lengthy processes and the production of work and of multiples, I waste time, sensing my “own temporality” (Hoffman 36). I invest in items not thought to be of value to speak of their “temporality”. I explore our fascination with time, and time saving methods or devices, while subsequently introducing the notion of the artist as labourer through the re-production of the mundane.

 

*Arendt, Hannah. The Portable Hannah Arendt ed. By Peter Baehr, Labour, Work, Action. New York, NY, 2000, print.

*Hoffman, Eva. Time. Picador, New York, NY. 2009, print.

*Martineau, Luanne. Reskilling, p 4-9 in Esse, Arts and Opinions, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada. 74, Winter 2012.

* Selz, Peter Howard. Emil Nolde, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY,1963, print.

 

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