Soft Infrastructure, 2011
Solo Exhibition at Lula in Chicago, IL Summer/Fall 2011
The mind and the terrain shape each other: every landscape is a landscape of desire to some degree...
I focus on conflating the spaces we inhabit: landscape, architecture, bodies, and minds. My work merges social and scientific boundaries; hidden patterns like topography, weather patterns, and bodily systems provide inspiration for my site-specific installations and drawings. I draw from the histories and structures of textiles, geography, biology, and architecture to create objects and images that are deliberately imperfect, somewhat slippery in form, and occasionally ragged around the edges. I am interested in inverting things and turning them inside out. I enjoy playing with scale.
The work in Soft Infrastructure explores memory, navigation, and landscape. I was raised in a section of northeastern Pennsylvania known at the Endless Mountains. The small coal mining towns along the mountains in this area are not particularly notable (aside from French Azilum, the intended new world home for Marie Antoinette if she had escaped from France) but traveling through them shaped me. We would travel the two-lane highway carved into the side of the mountains. It always followed the river below. The bends and turns are etched into my memory as physical sensations, stories, and imagined adventures. The road and river were lines inscribed on and into the land.
I believe that drawing is an extension of touch, the hand. Whatever the medium for drawing—pen, thread, wire—I think about the haptic gestures made and recorded on, in, through a surface. For the past year I have been engaged in studio investigations of drawing in this vein that that attempt to invert notions of soft and hard, fixed and malleable, structure and collapse.
Soft Infrastructure reveals a soft landscape—created from layers of cloth that are stitched into strata—supporting traces of failed (hard) architecture—dilapidated mining structures, hunting blinds, and communication towers. The improbable, rickety structures stand in opposition to the soft landscape that provides support to them.
Topology, sewing, and elements of mapping underscore the parallels between the structures and functions of the human body, architecture, and the landscape. I invite viewers to cross unseen boundaries and discover new territories while exploring the sense of touch in a visual way.