1996 flood


a brief description of a work in progress


flood is a concentrated, high energy complex that fills the central area of a room. The immediate impression is one of chaotic overflow, replaced upon viewing by an increasing sense of balanced urgency and discipline—comforting the instinct to organize, to contain and collect when faced with chaos and entropic reality.

I wanted to do a work experienced as place, that would mirror the potentially overwhelming sensations of an emotional life—a visual analogy of the intense internal reality of being human—that sense of emotional flux, transitions and, at times, the feeling of flooding.

If a flood was occurring in a space and whatever was at hand was spontaneously gathered and centralized, quickly, jammed together to contain the overflowing—the flood becoming in a sense contained, or at least somewhat containable. Within this particular instinctual act to save, to avert disaster, one becomes cognizant of a numinous quality. The poetic becomes the support. The futility of trying to survive is transformed into ritualized actuality, signaling a shift in perception and ultimately a shift in consciousness.

The work intimates the innate desire to give meaning to the experience of life. It is about ritual, and within ritual about sacrifice; not in an actual but in a metaphorical sense, about those unknown things one is forced to give up. Suggested through the forms of the containers, basins, sealed jars. Suggested by the uncovering of what is usually beneath the surface, not apparent, now revealed in the uprooted tree. It is the substance of the unconscious, the animalistic, gnarly aspect; not always identified as beautiful or of refined ceremony in the civilized sense as are those sensual curves of the containers. The work addresses a duality, a multifaceted reality, perhaps not as containable as we would have ourselves believe.


March 1996