My work has most often focused on social commentary. As the child of a Holocaust survivor I was aware from a young age of the fear, apathy and victimization inherent in human cultures. I feel that it is the job of the artists to mirror the events in a culture in such a way that history can look back and see through the artists’ eyes what the significant historical events and the priorities of that culture were at the time that the work was created.
I use human and anthropomorphic figures as the vehicle to explore the results of these prevalent emotions on society. The results form an uncomfortable contrast between the external face of content and the inner destruction that they pose. I reference art, contemporary culture, religion, mythology and other forms of social determinism in non-traditional ways to engage my subjects in activities that confront the viewer with the results of the human condition.
For the Artists of Hawai‘i exhibition I have been working on a piece that is a reflection of my feelings about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Weapons have been part of human existence throughout history and how each society has chosen to regulate these have varied. The extremes of weapon use have resulted in nuclear bombs, gas chambers and items of torture during periods such as the inquisition. An opposite of this would be the banning of guns in the United Kingdom where even police do not routinely carry them.
My sculpture The Innocents speaks to the easy accessibility of guns in America and the perceived results of that accessibility. When the innocents become victims, it is time to look at the laws and regulations of that culture and determine what the priorities of that culture are.
I am primarily a ceramic sculptor, though I will use whatever media is necessary for me to achieve the look that I am seeking in a piece of work. To accentuate the narrative I use various surface treatments to emphasize different aspects of the work. Along with a minimal use of colorful glazes, I use a surface technique that I developed known as “Naked Fauxku.” This approach reproduces a likeness to Naked Raku but is created in a high fire, oxygenated atmosphere with no reduction. The advantage of this technique is that it creates a cracked and painful looking surface that adds subliminal meaning to the work, while technically imparting the work with a durability that is unattainable from unvitrified raku work.