Artist's Statement

Moons, and Meteors...or simply, My Gongshi

“In China, Scholar Rocks are called Gongshi. Naturally formed or ‘sculpted’ stones in surprising shapes and textures, Gongshi have been appreciated by Chinese Literati for more than a thousand years. To the Chinese scholar, these rocks represented a focus for meditation of philosophic principles and served for contemplation prior to writing poems or painting.”

These works are my scholar rocks, formed first in my mind, then realized by the hand.

The Moon is my personal scholar rock, albeit not in the traditional sense. I find great satisfaction studying the textures and tones of the Moon. It speaks to me. Constantly orbiting a planet so full of life and activity, yet remaining stoic and solitary.

This work is void of the personal, the political. I am drawn to the monumental, to objects that have consistency in a larger time frame. The moon, the meteor, the rock, these things feel pure to me. My Gongshi are made for contemplation, to study and lose yourself in the quiet color scheme and intricate line-work. I delight in detailed linear element because it requires the maker to slow down, to reach a place of meditation to execute.

Presented to you are visual definitions of Organic Stoicism. But this is not a bleak stoicism, it is a deep and meaningful philosophy. A way of thinking about the world that has been lost in the digital age. Perhaps it has been stored away in some dusty corner as far back as the Industrial Age. I look to the comfort of natural consistency, to the purity of its existence, and the impassiveness of nature. These are the things that anchor my soul. I hope that you too, will find a quiet moment with this work.


In my work, I am attempting to capture the essence of human movement (gesture) through minimal, abstract forms. While always interested in the human figure, I was inspired by a summer trip to Italy where I studied and sketched sculptures of the High Renaissance and Baroque period. I was drawn to the tension created by their sculptural groups and the curves of the human figure.

While my first explorations of the human figure were realistic, I have chosen a more abstract and minimal approach in order to focus the viewers attention on the human gestures presented. Besides concentrating on the form of a single figure, I am challenged by relating figures to one another. When I am in the glass studio, I am trying to create very specific forms, while expecting a more ambiguous reaction from the viewer. I welcome different interpretations of these sculptures by the viewers. I have begun more and more to view my work as being removed from the human figure and directed towards representations of pure form, movement, and gesture.

The lack of surface decoration establishes continuity and encourages the viewers’ eye to examine the entire piece. I have discovered that translucent colors enable me to experiment with variations in color saturation throughout the sculptures. This aspect of my work demonstrates my interest in Czechoslovakian cast glass. Czech glass artists, such as Vizner and Libensky/Brycktova, utilize varying thickness of colored glass to produce wonderfully subtle variations in color in their cast sculptures. Being influenced by these artists, I was drawn to the challenge of producing a similar effect in blown glass. Light, in combination with the matte texture, creates a soft surface that emphasizes the internal glow. Once lured in by the remaining figural references in my work, I hope to expose the viewer to the emotionally expressive qualities of subtle color and form.

On Perception Series

We are living in a time when cultural, political and scientific limitations are being tested. Scientists are constantly pushing the envelope of what the human mind can comprehend, whether it is visualizing the smallest particles known to man, or seeing into the cosmos far beyond what the naked eye can glimpse. Embracing this age, I am interested in making sculptures that resist the viewers' complete understanding, while enticing the viewer into an extended analysis. I make abstract pieces about even more abstract ideas, approached from the periphery; the ideas I am interested in (the process, movement, and organization of thoughts, ideas, etc.) are much too complex to be directly approached. The field of particle physics approaches the study of various elementary particles in an analogous manner. The particles themselves are far too small to be comprehended as objects in anything like the ordinary sense of the word. They do not have bulk and weight in the usual sense, so they cannot cast shadows or reflect highlights. In addition they are a billion times too small to be photographed themselves, even by the most advanced microscopes. Instead, scientists record and study the bubbles and other traces that the particles leave behind in a Bubble Chamber. This is an indirect examination: a peripheral approach.

My formal sculptures in glass focus on an object's interaction with ocular perception and act as a metaphor for the difficulty of "seeing" anything in true clarity. As an optical medium, the inherent qualities of glass distort, transmit, block, and reflect light in an analogous manner to the way that "frame of mind" and "point of view" distort, transmit, block, and add clarity to ideas or concepts. This series consists of solid glass objects, primarily clear crystal with a "drawing" made of charcoal colored glass suspended within the crystal. The method in which the crystal is sculpted around the "drawing", pulls, pushes, stretches, and expands the pattern accordingly. Flat surfaces and symmetrically round surfaces affect the pattern the least, while irregular and uneven surfaces are more disruptive to a clear reading of the graphic.

I can further adjust how the viewer comprehends the "drawing" by cutting, carving, etching, grinding, and polishing the glass forms in the Cold Shop (the studio used to alter room temperature glass). Etching the glass (soft abrasion of the glass surface) enables me to slightly opacify an area, causing blurriness akin to looking through a dense fog. Cutting and polishing lenses (or variation thereof) allows me to "break" the pattern, causing lines to seemingly become unaligned at the edge of the cut mark.

My aim is to slow the viewer down, either directly through physical interaction or indirectly through interpretation. The primary methods that I use to achieve this effect are quieting colors, and the sheer magnitude of graphic elements. The actual time required to visually digest these pieces is substantial, and slows the viewer's pace through the exhibition area.

The complexity of these pieces ensures that comprehension is a difficult process and unexpected changes force the viewer to reevaluate their understanding of the work. Ideally these pieces will be slightly frustrating to the viewer, as they are captivated by the perceptual spectacle from their current point of view, frustrated by their visual restriction from the rest of the work, but intrigued enough to continue on their journey of discovery.

By varying the amount of information observed from each point of view, my work leads the viewer through the steps of a delicate and deliberate ballet of comprehension and ignorance; flirting with promises, and fleeting before pursuit.

A continued and significant part of the work has been a search for specificity in abstraction. As cognition is beyond the scope of current modes of investigation in philosophy and science, I am examining contemporary investigations that are attempting to capture the currently non-representational, and working on the edge of what humans can comprehend. A few of these modes are microscopy, particle physics, quantum physics, and astronomy. As our goals are all inescapably linked (attaining the seemingly unattainable), I am looking for abstract aesthetic cues to reference, such as the dysfunctional grid, Hawking's space time plane, and single graphics existing in multiple locations through refraction and reflection.