Tell us about your image: Immaculate Perception is a surreal portrait of a young girl in a bob cut dreaming a dream of a lemon tree. The girl was taken from a 1940s early color magazine on knitting (of all things) which was very appropriate to my collage work. The work is a lullaby and the girl is the revolution imagined in this century from the last one. Surrealism, asserted André Breton, was above all "a revolutionary movement." And that movement, both visual and literary, was largely identified with the dream. Shock, non-sequitur, unlikely but often gorgeous juxtapositions were the signature elements of surrealist works. These ideas come to term in Immaculate Perception.
The other works Days Like These and A Perfect Friend touch upon literary and visual ideas through the collision of images. The image becomes a way to read an idea; language becomes thick like liquor.
What kind of Fantasy were you trying to express or capture in this photograph?
In each of these works I've united women with desire in varying guises, not to examine the male gaze per se (although that is touched upon) but to lay out the plasticity of dream and idea as it essentially retrofits our everyday reality. Of course she is in (and of) the lemon tree: Immaculate Perception. Of course are days are like these she has a camera instead of a face. Of course she is masturbating as her cat/pussy curls up in her brain (dream) while a bus takes her away: A Perfect Friend. We live multiple lives simultaneously.
Why Photography? What about it inspires and excites you?
I’m not a photographer. But some years ago I developed some double exposures from a cheap plastic camera – the images I discovered were accidents the film did not advance as it should have. I’d printed out a contact sheet, and had a half dozen produced large and in color. Prior to that I’d taken a photograph of my niece. She was a baby, sitting on the kitchen floor playing with bowls and spoons. I printed the photo and then cut out her silhouette, which flattened all her features. Some thought the “baby” was a “thalidomide” baby. That silhouette formed the basis of a collage series that spanned nearly 10 years I used the silhouette as a kind of light to illuminate other images and surfaces; it shaped ideas, and gave a supra-impression of a full range of ideas, extending even to mosaics and sculpture. As I’ve expanded my range of collage subjects and techniques, the photograph has become a support in many interesting ways. For one I’ve come to regard most magazine images I use as well as photocopies as photographs. I find myself intrigued with the magazine and vintage book papers these images are printed on. All printed material, particularly pre-1960, offer rich image possibilities due to the printing technology used. I cut and alter these images, sometimes using paint, sometimes sandpaper, sometimes water. I will sometimes turn them to undecipherable bits; other times using fragments in combination with others scratching their color away. I’m interested in all sorts of photographed and printed images, and can sometimes hunt for bits of red or blue or yellow for a specific work, combining it so the results are often abstract. Usually the pieces, particularly in the more recent Suicide Specials launch a distilled but many-faceted narrative. Other works, however, are extremely direct and employ only a handful of elements. I seek out photographs of objects or people that have, with their vintage printing and papers, a faraway, often nostalgic feel. I’ve come to view photography as something anything actually that has been reproduced mechanically using optics and printing technology. And I’ve no issues with reprinting images using my own store of vintage papers some virgin some already printed.
Our next issue is centered around the theme of 'Temptation'. What do you find Tempting, right now?
My most recent series concerns a different kind of collage composition using photography, much of it from old forgotten magazines and newspapers, recalling in the composed geometry a narrative of desire. Sometimes the narrative is of fields of grass or trees, or in other works, a couple broken apart and yet still engaged; the connection is firm though and through the linkages of color and texture and content, the sensuality of these "story fragments" combine to reinvigorate desire. Desire is temptation reified, assayed. These pieces are called Suicide Specials. I spent the month of December 2013 working obsessively on these. My studio looked like a hurricane blew through it. The Tempest.