scrabbleMost of us work in either the tangible or symbolic realm, a tragic dichotomy, given our human faculties. My artwork, built upon previous careers, uses me at full capacity, demanding visual, verbal and manual dexterity.

Transformation fascinates me. The challenge to coax a new use out of familiar objects is twofold. The work must be true to the physical nature of the material and to its cultural meanings. Books treated as lumber achieve useful structural possibilities and merge back with the wood from which they came. Books do grow on trees! Like a good song parody, in these furnishings you easily recognize the whole but its parts have been replaced with something unexpected.

Communication in a tangible form provides substance to ideas. It has never been easier to reproduce and transmit thoughts than it is today. Yet few feel they are getting heard in an era with 500 channels, Dumpsters full of books and disposable phones. By taking a labor-intensive, materially-driven approach to the written word, it gains strength and weight that will pixels never match.

Collecting unwanted manufactured material is the physical basis of most of my work. I look for objects I can manipulate that convey stories, invoke lives or induce questions. Book titles (I have about 5,000) are an obvious example, but even a wordless whisk broom has something to say. Eventually the collection provides an opportunity to make something better than the sum of the parts. In some cases, the pieces began with an idea and I hunted down the parts. Otherwise, what you see is what I found.

Further thoughts about working with books

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