I was born in 1961 in
northern England. My family immigrated to America when I
was two. We settled in a house on a dirt road in the
small town of Shelby, North Carolina. My earliest
memories are watching a farmer and a mule plowing the
field behind our house and a chain gang eating their
lunch in our front yard. I grew up in the South.
I recently visited the elementary school that I had
attended as a child. As I walked through the door I was
struck by the memory of how it smelled, a very distinct
smell. One I had last experienced, in that building,
some three decades before. The memory of that smell
created an instant emotional response. I had found
something that had been missing and forgotten.
While writing an artist statement a number of years ago,
I asked an artist friend to help me clarify some
thoughts. He responded that through my work I let the
viewer find things they didn't know were lost. A
succinct idea, and one that most accurately describes my
experience of that day at my old school.
I use primarily found materials in my work: anonymous
photographs, old paper, cardboard, bookbinding, cloth,
glass, wire, galvanized metal, boxes and assorted
natural and man made objects.
In the catalog for the 1961 MOMA exhibition "The Art of
Assemblage" curator William C. Seitz wrote of "The
fabric of meaning woven by materials." And observed "As
element is set beside element, the many qualities and
auras of isolated fragments are compounded, fused, or
contradicted so that - by their own confronted volitions
as it were - matter becomes poetry."
Duchamp said that an artist is never more than partially
cognizant of what his work communicates. My intention is
to create a chemistry among the disparate elements. One
that is an expression of human concerns: longing,
isolation and relationships to both the physical and