Why Found Objects?

Growing up, I had free reign to search and collect with my brother and sister. There were outbuildings, weathered barns on their last leg, piles of rusted tractors and old Plymouth station wagons, creeks full of quartz crystals and freshwater clamshells. Every inch of our property had some intriguing pile of archaeological relics, or at least, I viewed them as such. I was interested in every object, I think mostly because I wanted to know what it was and where it came from. I was also interested in the lives of the people who lived in our house before us. My parents always talked about the various stages our home went though: first a post-revolutionary dance parlor (c.1796), then a farm (c. 1820), then a civil war hospital (c.1860’s), and back to a farm (c.1900’s), which was in the abandoned state when my father found it and started to fix it up. The old timers in the area talked about how their great-grandfathers remembered seeing the house after it was hit by a cannonball. So strange and wonderful to hear the tales as a child and to create my own mysteries as to what was really lying beneath the soil all the time.

When I began creating art, I had the desire to create something with all of my found objects, but something that showed the objects in a different light. I wanted to create something that was more than a relic, something that highlighted the life of a particular object, but also transcended the mundane and everyday aspect of that object. Part of my desire has always been to collect materials from places that have personality. Most of my recent constructions use barn wood from barns I have explored or discovered on a back road.

Most people can understand relationships with other people or relationships with pets. We create affinities for certain things in our lives, like cars or favorite restaurants. We allow these things to tell stories about us because of our relationship to them. As for me, I have always been made of dirt and rusty nails, have always collected the broken bottles and general store screen doors hinges, so I guess it’s only natural that when I make a piece of art, the finished product, the finished story, is a direct result of the ingredients.

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