About Me
 

On My Teaching:   


My teaching philosophy is rooted in bringing innovative techniques and community centered opportunities to Intermedia classes on the graduate and undergraduate level.  I define Intermedia as "material in flux" which emphasizes the malleability of physical materials in service to effective communication. Beyond traditional sculpture, I encourage progressive strategies of using performance, sound, new media, video, web-based platforms and installation as alternatives to material based practices. 


My course objectives and syllabi require students to create their own projects, demanding students extrapolate a project’s validity through the creation and critique process.   As an instructor with a wide ranging background of technical expertise that includes traditional processes such as life casting, stone, and wood carving, as well as new technologies including resin fabrication, video and sound-based work, I have the ability to facilitate students’ exposure to materials and methods that can best express their ideas. 


Individualized material and process research has become a central component of my curriculum.  In my classes students choose not only what ideas they wish to state through a work of art, but also what materials they will use to state them.  This corresponds to an increasingly relevant definition of what it means to be a contemporary artist.  With virtually any material available to serve an artist’s expression, it becomes important to be adept at navigating fabrication techniques specific to materials that cannot be addressed in traditional classroom demonstrations due to their great diversity.  Because so much is in flux, one must be nimble.  An artist must figure out ways to make things happen for him/herself.  Because my students are largely responsible for learning processes relevant to non-traditional practices, they understand this reality quickly, which mandates their need to be self-motivated and responsible.  To be an artist is to be, in large part, autodidactic.


I feel it is important for my students to see solutions to these problems within the work and thought processes of professional artists.  To do so, I also include many seminar sessions per semester dedicated to a reading and subsequent discussion on a topic of contemporary artistic practice.  This typically takes the form of an artist interview published in scholarly journal databases or digital archives. These readings, along with relevant videos and slide presentations I project in the classroom, reinforce the need for artists to be aware of trends in the professional field in order to develop responses to them.


It is imperative to remain thoroughly abreast of trends in technology and practice that move the discipline nationally and internationally.  The interdisciplinary nature of our program requires my commitment to a broad humanistic understanding of philosophy, history, cultural studies and mass media.  I expect that the students who complete our program will go on to validate our commitment to them by being competent artists and complete citizens in a quickly changing world.  It is my job to prepare them for that pace.




On My Practice:


I investigate and appropriate American history.  I am deeply interested in the role of memory—its fallibility, its malleability---particularly in the way the historic record is often defined by it.


My work hinges on the increasing, however reluctant, acceptance that our understanding of history is largely subjective.  It is difficult to know the integrity of the foundation on which we stand.  As such, my approach to the past, as well as to the present, ranges from reverence to agitation, depending on the subject matter I choose to dissect, and perhaps more importantly, to what ends it was dissected before.  This is, in part, a response to my perceived lack of critical inquiry in American public discourse, which increasingly seeks to replace belief with fact.  Particularly in the contemporary era, events seem increasingly defined through ideological parameters.  In so much as my work posits a return to questioning in the Socratic sense, it is meant to interrogate what ancient Greeks called nomos, or customs, so that our values become reinforced through the process of self, or collective, critique.


And in order to conduct such an inquisition sincerely, I realize I must include myself in the work, for I am part of that equation.   And like most of us, I struggle to find answers.