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 spiritual worlds.

 

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