Originally from Washington, DC, I co-founded the Chicago-based visual theater company Local Infinities, creating 11 materials-based visual performances over 7 years, featuring 800 lbs of dirt, 100 gallons of water, or dipping people in giant vats of wax. Local Infinities performed at Oerel international theater festival in the Netherlands and Kyiv Travnevy in Ukraine, and curated international performance series at Links Hall in Chicago.
My installations have utilized overlays of light, color, shadow and film in labyrinths of transparent materials. My original text piece SecondPlace has been presented live with performance artist Natalie Brewster Nguyen in Chicago, as a surround-sound installation created by audio artist Monica Ryan at Sight Sonic Sound Festival in the U.K., and the Long Beach sound festival SoundWalk. Collaborators include slit-shutter photographer and fine artist Kostas Dimitreas (Greece) and Northwestern University’s Intelligent Information Laboratory (Chicago). My set designs complemented performances by dance and theater companies in Chicago, including the renowned Lookingglass Theatre.
Recently I have been creating installations of interactive wax paintings, using arduino microcontrollers to change images using light and the presence of the viewers. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2010, my work has been seen at Fort Mason as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival, at the Performance Art Institute’s show “Keeping an Eye on Surveillance” curated by Hanna Regev, at Classic Cars West in Oakland, curated by Rebecca Kerlin, and as part of the immersive theater experience The Decameron at Fort Mason, and at the art and technology group CODAME's 2013 gala event 5ENSES, curated by Kiri Rong.In 2014, I collaborated with the innovative technology-based dance company, Kinetech, and adapted my painting SecondSight as a set for interactive dance. The Other Side, has been performed at Central Market Now, Kinetech's Kunst-Stoff Studios, SAFEHouse, and ODC.
My large-scale painting Luminous is on permanent display at China Lounge restaurant in Pleasanton, California, created in collaboration with LED artists Dustin Jay Edwards and Dan Cote, commissioned by Kiri Rong, with engineering by Carl Pisaturo.
In 2015 I began a new performance series—The One Truthiness, addressing issues of fear, violence, and trust in response to the movement for Black lives, and other longstanding conflicts with no easy resolution. This premiered as part of Kinetech's Featured Artist Series, 2015 and was further developed at the San Francisco International Arts Festival in 2016.
Currently, I live in Oakland and have a studio in Berkeley.
I make work about complexity — images, objects, and experiences that resist a single interpretation — seeking to represent the stories behind the surfaces, show the contradictions of conflicting truths in a single image, describe a world where context changes what we perceive.
My interactive paintings are multi-layered translucent images painted in wax on glass that change with light. Whether lit with natural light such as the changing time of day in a room or LEDs using sensors to respond to the viewer's movement, these objects are never just one thing.
By layering paintings and managing the transparency of the pigments, I am able to structure objects that reveal completely different images depending on whether the light reflects off the surface of the painting or shines through it. In this way, I can combine two or three images on a single surface. Adding complexity are the variables of interactivity and varieties of light. By adding dynamic lights controlled by the movement of the viewer, I am able to reveal only parts of the images at a time. Similarly, adding a delay in a sensor means one person may trigger a light, but the person walking behind them is the one who sees it.
For the viewer, this creates a kind of on-demand theatrical experience, where the dynamics of the interaction and the technology add to the content. There are the images, the light, the interactivity, and the audience — all affecting the others.
The result is a highly complex experience where the object resists definition. This medium allows me to explore complex representations of identity and interpretation — where a single image has alternate histories and versions depending on the context and approach of the viewer and/or the light. When a viewer interacts with an object with more than one state, which version of the object is true? How does our own behavior affect what we see and presume to know? How do our choices affect others' experiences? How can I convey the contradictions inherent in a single person, or image, or story?