About the Artist
My interest in creating public art is in designating and defining public locations as communal space. I believe that public art should be conceptually rigorous and contribute to place-making as a way of developing a meaningful connection to communities. I am drawn to the Greenbank Road Public Art Project because it presents an opportunity to develop an innovative artwork that appeals across generations and celebrates the role of community spaces in creating and sustaining a rich metropolis.
Collaborative community based approaches tend to be challenging experiences that demand flexibility and an open minded approach on the part of the artist. The process of creation is exposed to the public and is reliant on the participation of many diverse groups and stakeholders. I find this approach simultaneously challenging and rewarding because it results in a work of art that has social significance for the community and a sense of communal ownership emerges through the process. As an artist I have extensive experience working in a collaborative manner with non-art professionals. An example is my most recent public performance Dance of the Cranes, Edmonton AB, which consisted of a choreographed dance performed by multiple high-rise construction cranes perched on top of buildings in the downtown core. Staged for Nuit Blanche, this project was the culmination of a collaborative partnership with the crane operators and developers that operated on the site that led to the development of a project that was meaningful to both the participants and the audience. The resulting performance created the sensation that the entire city became a stage for performance, effectively immersing the audience within the spectacle.
My public art practice is purposely diverse and straddles the line between high and low culture, acting as a catalyst for critical thought and addressing society’s fascination with nature and technology, and what happens when these two aspects of the world collide. In the past several years my exhibited projects have been diverse in form and content, including site specific interventions, kinetic sculpture, public performances, and object based sculpture. My public installations deliberately do not reveal themselves as sculpture, but seek to insert an anomaly into the viewer’s experience of the everyday. Projects such as Northern Satellite trigger a discourse centred on conflicted understandings of landscape by creating a narrative where a Global Positioning Satellite has collided with the earth. In gallery exhibitions I engage the audience through employing the language of monumental figurative sculpture by subverting dominant cultural narratives by creating monuments to popular culture characters (Dead Astronaut, “…he was turned to steel…”), or by subverting expectations of the monument through intervention.
Most recently I was awarded a commission for a permanent installation by the Edmonton Arts Council. Wildlife consists of two bronze figures that appear to be citizens leisurely going about their day. Upon inspection, however, the figures reveal themselves to be composed of squirrels, raccoons, foxes, owls, and other animals working together to appear human. Humorously referencing cartoon clichés, this sculpture invites a thoughtful reflection on humanity’s relationship with nature. Wildlife challenges viewers’ perceptions by making a seemingly mundane scene extraordinary: an average-looking person morphs into a conglomeration of animals that is both shocking and intriguing and reveals the extraordinary possibilities beneath the mundane we take for granted.