artist statement

© Van Winkle

The touted zeitgeist is sustainability. Or is it? Contemporary industrialized society eagerly embraces a steam of solicitations to consume. How can we have overt excess and insist on ecological consciousness and eco-action?
My newest work has underpinnings in trying to grasp this complex relationships to excess, while brushing on the crossroads of hyperconsumption, ownership, environmental awareness, and the primal thrill of obsessive embellishment.
Over the last decade my art has been site-specific. The projects contain overlapping layers of research, material experiments, model building, project management, teaching/learning, materials gathering/acquiring, on and off-site construction, and documentation.

Scale is important.

I want the viewers to be surrounded by the art, to feel engulfed and, to be apart of it. I like it if the art can make them laugh too.

My artwork Curtains of Commerce (2004-05) constructed from woven and sewn yellow book pages, inspired me to work with domestic materials that are en route to be recycled: cardboard, paper, plastics, and textiles (reclaimed textiles and recycled clothing). A series entitled, new experiences>reused materials, evolved. It includes public art and site-specific installations which are complete or partial collaborations and highlights my passion for building both objects and relationships.

The main concepts of new experiences>reused materials are to use recycled materials in order to question: a) permanency, b) the role of process versus product, c) the role of memory in the experience of art, and d) the practicality of what happens to the artwork at the conclusion of the exhibition; and, to (hopefully) raise (and question) environmental awareness.

Three interwoven bodies of work have arisen: the public art geared to children, the large-scale collaborative installations and the accompanying blogs. In the public art creating a space for play and curiosity is the goal.

The collaborative installations involve collecting, collaboratively creating and recycling the materials. Many of the ideas for the projects evolve from discussions with participants and discoveries we make while playing with materials. The call and response of the collaborative installations energizes me. I like to introduce children, youth and “non-artist” adults to contemporary art by the choice of my exhibit venues and inviting these individuals into the making process. The collaborations become like a 3-D exquisite corpus. I work with various groups to make different aspects of the installation simultaneously. I also create components myself and then all these parts are assembled into one artwork.

The project blogs are an attempt to un-mask the mystique of being an artist. The photo entries illustrate the daily hard-work involved in creating large-scale work. The newest installations have soundscapes.

When I consider the style of my artwork, the image of a forest comes to mind―a wild, dense place of undulating (bio)diversity with a life of its own.