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I am interested in the evolving provisional nature of a community’s public face- the signage of its history. This history may be in the form of centuries of past generations or it may be from a rapidly developing community that has had to adapt to population increases and turnovers in a short period of time. The word palimpsest (Latin: to scrape away) is generally used to describe the kind of layers seen in old stone tablets or parchment papers that have been written on and erased over a period of time. But the Palimpsest also exists in the surface of buildings, social spaces, and is part of everyday experience. From the patina of buildings and in the aesthetic decisions associated with home improvements or commercial signage, these dynamic forms reveal many less visible aspects of a given community.
Scars of staircases zig-zag their way up the side of a building, ending where there once was a floor. Window frames are imbedded into brick walls, contemporary fossils, the structures are a signifier of a culture that once occupied a now vacant space. The palimpsest is not a thing then, rather, it is evidence of moments in time. The palimpsest is the stuff between. When revealed, this stuff between, gives us pause to consider, to visualize time. I photograph these transitory markers and by doing so, provide a pause. Fixing those transitions in an image allows the viewer to contemplate broader historical and cultural shifts.
The subjects of my work are not found in history books, or seen on the 6 o’clock news. They are the the transitions in culture made by everyday people who enact small changes that, while unnoticed by many, are significant nonetheless. Poster Pasters wallpaper our cities with bills of events past and future, forming thick layers sometimes so heavy they lean, and even fall off of walls when it rains from their own weight. Painters reface a building, giving it a fresh coat of paint, re-enlivening the structure to keep developers at bay. Homeowners build additions onto existing structures to suit the ever changing needs of a growing family and community. But between these moments of surface reconditioning, time takes hold, sometimes in a day, sometimes in a decade, and makes its own mark. This is history in it’s most temporary and seemingly banal form.
The Geometry of the homes in barracks-like communities such as Levittown and a recent project of my own in Mianus Village, a small street in Cos Cob, Connecticut, emphasize a homeowners need for individuality. The formal geometric appearance, not just the detailed decisions are what seem to be important in this community. Presenting works that expose that system of geometry is the focus of my current and upcoming works. Taking on new ways of creating images, combining my design skills with my photographic knowledge, I create bio-palimpsests, a collection of images that define a greater experience, going beyond the moment. The subtle and the geometric will always be a source of inspiration for me and these values are emphasized by the built images in a way that revitalizes the role of photography in the art world. They are not collage, nor are they simple stacks of ethereal imagery pressed together in a ghost like form. These new pieces show an understanding of the selected subject in an elegant way that weaves together concepts of longing, serenity, history and my own place within the system of computer generated imagery.
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