What have you been working on in Wassaic?
I felt like the Wassaic Project gave me a giant reset button and the gift of time to figure out my practice's next trajectory. I brought some pH testing paper with me, which I used to blot dewdrops from grass and shrubs around the Mill by pressing the paper gently against the plants first thing in the morning. I also worked on reproducing the condensation pattern of a cup filled with icy water by taking a photograph and then replicating the pattern in epoxy resin.
How does that work fit alongside things you've made in the past? Things you plan on making in the future?
Reproducing condensation patterns in resin is something I've done in the past with window panes of a house in Japan. The humid weather and the mountainous views in Wassaic reminded me a lot of Japanese climate. Since condensation on windows is dependent on outside weather, I created a controlled one with icy water. I have a sculpture background, and I've been antsy to make this two-dimensional relief exist as a three-dimensional form. So I am planning to take a mold off of the cup condensation piece and wrap it back into a cylinder form to make an object, and then create some sort of connective tissue to have it relate it to its environment. I need it to exist off the walls, and hopefully it will grow into a different series.
You came here as part of a multi-family residency alongside Sean Salstrom and Helen Lee, where you each take turns taking care of the kids. The family residency program has existed for several years now, but yours is a particularly new and interesting approach to it. What has that been like? How has that informed both your work and the process and/or rhythm of making it?
It has been wonderful. Since Sean and I had our first child, I have been providing most of her childcare, and my studio practice went to a bit of a hiatus. Other than for one public sculpture project in 2017, I don't remember the last time I had this consistent studio time to myself. Cooking once every third meal has been great too (Sean volunteered to cook breakfast pretty much every day, and whoever watched the kids was in charge of preparing lunch or dinner). A three-hour morning or afternoon childcare slot was a perfect length so that you didn't get burned out with kids — whose energy level is amplified by each other. Back home in Rhode Island, we're in the middle of moving our studio, and I am really excited to retain this momentum even if it is realized in a smaller scale.
Your piece, Suspire, is featured in this year's summer exhibition. Can you talk about that piece, and how it relates to your other work exploring breath and air?
Suspire was made after a similar piece, The Breath from Which Clouds Are Formed. In that piece, the thermal color pigment that I used changes from blue to clear when it is heated, and it will go back to blue when it cools back down. I painted this pigment onto a sheet of white paper, so that wherever I breathed on became white and resembled a single clump of cloud in the sky, and took a photograph before it disappeared back to blue.
Suspire is my one long exhalation onto a larger board that was treated the same way with thermal color. By taking the image out of context, I liked that my long sigh or my frustrated state could be viewed as a contrail in the sky. Many people may have a negative view on contrails due to conspiracy theories, but to me they are still uplifting. I like how linear they can appear in the open sky, and I like to imagine where the airplanes are headed. They are clear markings of moving forward towards a destination.
My wonder of our attachment to the human body intersects with my vain anxiety of forgetting and being forgotten. These sentiments fuel my exploration of visual recordings of skin, body temperature, breath, and other traces of human existence as two- and three-dimensional works. The resulting recordings provide fragmented information, and the viewer is welcome to fill the void.
Water is a recurring element in my recent works along with the human body. Molecules from human transpiration are omnipresent, traveling freely around the globe as they are carried by the wind. I try to capture the essence of myself and everyone that is encapsulated in these water molecules by working with dew drops, condensation, and humidity, and the result is a conundrum of wanting to create static, physical relics that attempt to express fleeting human presence.
2019 Summer Residency