As a society, we have come to recognize menace everywhere. It seems as if we have come to conceptualize our own nature through a perpetual state of unease and fear, or more accurately, through the ability to protect ourselves from whatever threat we perceive to be looming. Fear and its byproduct anxiety seem to be ever-present in ways that affect us like never before.
Automata is a series of drawings where I reveal, conceal and distort the structure of microscopic biological organisms. I am interested in these structures as systems of coded information that are utterly terrifying in their ability to induce illness and even kill us—in the tension that exists in the space between scientific knowledge and fear.
In these drawings, the complex mathematics that forms the structure of viruses, cancer cells and bacteria become flattened and deconstructed through line and intuitive mark-making. I add embellishments such as vibrant color, pearlescent ink and metal leaf. The drawings end up being too far removed to signify anything scientific—nor do they incite anxiety--but become something entirely different and absurd.
In Precautionary Measures, individuals wear protective clothing in an environment that contains no discernable hazard. I incorporate cut-out or gold leaf floral shapes of plants that have varying degrees of toxicity to humans. Victorian artists used many of these as symbols of impending doom, but here in this grey space danger manifests in an unrealized form. Flowers in this context signal possibilities, not inevitabilities. The figures seem hyper-vigilant in their preparedness in this context—donning PPE’s, medical masks, space suits and other shielding garments. Compositionaly, they occupy the middle of the paper and allude to certain characters from absurdist theatre who have an obsessive need to always return to center stage. They seem to exist frozen in an unceasing state of readiness for perils that many never come. In the end, they are isolated and alone; away from the true comfort that the presence of others can offer.