After working in network TV for a decade as a graphics producer in New York, I decided to try something new and took a teaching position at Bilkent University in Turkey for two years. Upon returning to the States, I opened my first sculpture studio in Cooperstown, in rural Upstate New York.
Twelve years later, I moved west and began working in Taos, New Mexico, the legendary high-desert town of Agnes Martin, Georgia O’keeffe and D.H. Lawrence.
My Taos studio was a shack with no running water or insulation. It had a plywood roof that leaked like a sieve during the spring snow melt. But it had a splendid view of Taos Mountain and intrepid clients found adventure in the pilgrimage to see my work. It was an isolated haven of creativity.
During that time, I was exposed to Native Indian culture and ideas that influenced my view of our responsibility for the stewardship of nature. Ecological concerns had always been a part of my motivation to create images of animals, but I began finding a way to express a deeper message even as I developed practical solutions to the problems of building sculpture.
In Taos I met Larry Bell who had studios in both Taos and Venice Beach, California. In his Taos workshop Bell showed me how he created metallic finishes on glass and paper using a hi-tech process called thin film deposition. Larry had a coterie of counter-culture artist friends in Taos that included Dennis Hopper, Ken Price, Dean Stockwell and Ronald Davis. When I visited Larry at his studio in Venice Beach, I began to see the possibilities of living and working in Southern California. In 2010, I left Taos and moved to Los Angeles.
After exploring the glitzy, garish LA art scene, I went into the studio and destroyed many of my early works. I began to gravitate toward abstraction. I started work on a series of assemblage orbs made from discarded stainless steel objects – pots, pans, hubcaps and pet bowls.
I first developed this curious pack-rat technique of joining dissimilar objects together in Taos, but in LA I began using it to make non-objective forms. I called these conglomerations of objects, “midden” sculptures. The term midden refers to a dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, botanical material, vermin, shells, shards and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation. In a consumer culture that promotes materialistic excess evidenced by conspicuous over consumption, planned obsolescence, hoarding and the production of massive amounts of garbage, the midden work offered a new perspective on the pervasive cycle of production, consumption, and destruction.