A Spell for Letting Go
For the last twenty years I have organized my photo series around a primary theme or directive. Each body of work held at its core a central question suspended by various threads of outside sources, such as early Italian Renaissance painting, the violent expressions of borders in the modern Middle East, etc.
However, this body of work came together in a very different manner. In the fall of 2020 my life began to spiral and fracture in ways that felt out of control. This moment of deep vulnerability left me looking for ways to adapt to my new circumstances. Naturally, I turned to my studio. The first photo I made for this body of work (Red Dress) was a reflexive gesture made in response to the time period in which it was made. It is a visual codex of the pain, confusion, and uncertainty that characterizes the body of work in which it belongs.
During the three years that I spent making these photographs, I began to pay closer attention to the kinds of creative sources that have long fed my visual impulses. These sources stemmed from classical painting, images of violence and transformation, abject objects, medieval weaponry, arcane knowledge, and Victorian Spiritualism. These thematic tributaries found their way into my studio practice by means of new kinds of materials. I began weaving chain mail, casting cement, and casting epoxy resin along with more familiar materials such as acrylic two-way mirrors.
All of this was in service of seeking out a kind of spellcasting in my studio. I was in a moment of profound change and I sought knowledge in the metallurgy of making photographs. The photographs I made over the last three years represent my effort to embrace the churning volatility of transformation and to let go of what I once held tight. That is to say; this is by far the most vulnerable I have ever made myself while making photographs. The images are shot through with references to that which excites and pains me; Northern European Renaissance painting, ancient and modern objects of armor and violence, fantasy art, Palestinian martyrs from the 1970s, iconoclasm, fractured spaces, spirit photography and magic stagecraft of the 19th century, etc.
These photographs are seamed together with crisscrossing threads of loss, magical thinking, predilections for instruments of violence, and the transmutation of naive hope into a glittering image of dark possibilities.