Continue Being My Dream, Then
Think about me when you land on the moon, okay?
-Victor Pelevin, Omon Ra
On my closet door there are glow-in-the-dark stickers of stars and planets. They are painted over in white. I count almost a hundred. The stickers begin 27” off the ground and end at 78”—the closet itself is 80” in height. An adult presumably placed the stickers, likely for a small child. These people do not live here anymore. Another person painted over them. The phosphors are trapped—an erasure of what used to fluoresce. I have become the caretaker of the white planets. Everyday I see them caught in a stasis of latex, the image of melancholy sealed in paint. What else disrespects a childlike sense of wonder and skews it towards the helpless?
We were once able to sense the sublime in small things. I began photographing surfaces of objects that contained a tactile memory, an existence of a person or experience. My photographs record not just the remnant but also include the whole: a scar becomes an ellipse on the firmament of skin.
I think of these photographs as constellations. I employ the artifice of the vast to unify the subjects on the picture plane, attenuating them to formal qualities of line and color. Like constellations, the photographs become reductive stand-ins for larger ideas. Constellations reflect the human need to flatten space and time. They initiate narratives. Through the far away they explain the here and now, history and myth. The astral plane is a governing metaphor for how I make and think about this work, especially regarding its installation on the abstract space of the gallery wall. When I install my work I consider sightlines between individual images and the correspondences among them that those draw.A modular arrangement of pictures, and the patterns and repetitions among them, engenders a tacit awareness of the temporal process of viewing both images and things in the world.
The subjects are cosmetic fantasies and small tragedies; less tragedies and more missteps, as when you fall and the ground leaves its impression on your flesh. I want to elicit the inexplicable as we empathize with a hurt or dwell in the dark of the night sky, whether projected on the belly of the inamorata or the fecundity of plastic. The face, too, is a kind of constellation—two ovals and four lines.
I want to create tableaux, through a photographic fiction, where unimportant histories blend into each other as in a dream. These pictures are a romance for the ineffectual and blessedly neglected.
I hope to learn to see and to look for the first time.
A child said What is the grass? Fetching it to me with full
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it
is any more than he.
-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself