BONE DOLLS/

MINIATURES

AIR TRANCE, installation
AIR TRANCE, bone doll detail
AIR TRANCE, peephole detail
TRESPASSER
TRESPASSER, with tattoo detail
MILK CLOUDS
FIRMAMENT, lens assemblage interior
FIRMAMENT,  baby detail
FIRMAMENT, bone doll detail

           The work forTRESPASSERS emerges from an interest in miniatures and as an extension of experience with optical devices---cameras and viewers of all kinds---from the 19th century through to the present.  These images are from installations that feature micro-miniature articulated puppets or “bone dolls," most of which have been fashioned from the remains of the same small animal discovered on a walk.  Each of the puppets features a micro tattoo which classifies them as a “TRESPASSER,” a marker of identity tied to an implied narrative related to the daily explorations. They have materialized as animated characters drawn out of books, like Ben Marcus's The Age of Wire and String, paintings, such as Giovanni Segantini's The Evil Mothers, or the Serbo-Croatian Romani film, Time of the Gypsies. These figures are also influenced by magical miniatures (Tupilaq bone carvings from Greenland, the tiny Sirtya effigies made by the Nenets of Siberia, and Nkisi sculptures from Africa) and are not unlike 17th Century ivory medical miniatures.  With permission from Ben Marcus, the “Air Trance” installation includes a passage from The Age of Wire and String. The writing is presented as a kind of ghost text that is only readable as a shadow. It communicates an almost post-apocalyptic use of language that corresponds to the reconfiguration of the effigies as a representation of meaning over function.

       INdirectory: U R (NOT) here makes use of a large collection of obsolete directories and floor plans.  Now altered to read as found poetry or dream-like spaces and imagery, the instructions steer the viewer away from familiar external territory and into perplexing but amusing internal space. The floor plan depicts a dirt ear that looks down into a mysterious workshop (represented in the smaller incarnation by a tiny LED light). As it turns out, the viewer is right at this larger maze-like dirt ear, marked by an "X" on the floor. Through a large lens one sees a tiny but apparently vast space below--an illusion of scale and reflection. Created for the faculty exhibition in fall 2021, this installation was designed to be placed over the old theater prop shop--which no longer exists--in the recently renovated Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art at JMU. It is a fictionalized recreation of the former glory of Duke Hall as the cramped but creative and quirky Theater, Music and Fine Arts building. The distant sound of tinny music and the footsteps of a solitary late-night worker heightens the impression that this space still exists, if only now in fantasy or memory.