Spurious Synthetics

Solo Exhibition at the Gallery of BC Ceramics

Artist Statement

My work disrupts a false dichotomy where humans and nature are binary concepts, existing in the liminal space between culture and nature.  It is a manufactured ecology rife with fabricated nature-inspired designs. These pieces speak to a human obsession with commercialized representations of natural forms.

I am interested in the common usage of botanical subjects in abstract and stylized form to decorate the surfaces of Arts and Crafts metalwork, ceramic, textiles, glass, and furniture. Over time, architects, designers, and artists have started to look less to nature as a source, and more to a synthetic nature.  I am interested in the practice of conventionalization, a practice in which 19th century Victorian architects stylized natural forms such as leaf ornaments, where asymmetry in the veins of a leaf would be abandoned in favour of symmetrical cutouts. These designers were not interested in capturing a naturalistic representation of a plant, rather they were searching for a form that spoke to a universal plant.  This reduction or stylization of the plant form in order to confirm to anthropocentric systems of order is precisely the type of appropriation in which I am interested.

Similarly, I am attracted to the uncanny visual appropriation of natural forms.  I find it ironic that humans will plow down a forest to erect shopping malls with fake plastic plants.  It seems strange to me, like an absurd alien universe. While I am perturbed by these fabricated objects, a distinctly familiar attraction exists; I am captivated by the visual properties of this synthetic nature, the notion of the organic, and the appearance of fluid, open forms. 

There is also a strong reference to kitsch in my work, whereby the organisms depicted simultaneously repulse and attract the viewer.  I am interested in how commercialized nature-inspired consumer objects sometimes seem gaudy or tacky, but also have a popular mass appeal.