Author  DRBU Staff

Can you share a little about your background and approach to art? 

I was very interested in art as a child—but I would not have used that language for it yet. I remember dusting the kitchen floor with powdered sugar and asking my cousins to walk through it, or building large stuffed things out of paper, kleenex, and clear tape. Detritus was always really important to me. I also read a lot and knew I loved to write. In my writing I was always very interested in form and in the edge or limit of writing.  

After high school I went to a writing program that was housed inside an art school, and it was there I started painting and felt totally obsessed. My interest in painting became less and less about the product or finished painting and much more about the moment of painting—where the paint was still wet. And I became really interested in opening this moment—expanding and somehow inviting others in. And that is, at least partially, how I ended up making sculpture. I realized that there were so many things I could think through materially in sculpture. It opened up the categories and made it so much easier for me to access a sense of liveness in my work. 

I am currently getting my MFA in Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design and thinking a lot about being and the boundaries between animacy and sentience and other kinds of being. I am really interested in slowing down attention. I am interested in making things that are in some ways low stakes or dismissable—but that are generous when someone does spend time with them and pay attention. 

Most recently I have been making a lot of work out of biomaterials (like bioplastics, but also less mediated things like grape stems and egg shells). Lately I have been making these kinds of long sculptures that I think of almost as tripwires or long run-on sentences of objects strung together. The places where the various parts touch are kind of tense——things start to activate and interact with each while retaining some of their separation as well. Language continues to be important in my work and often comes in with words made of different materials or projected PowerPoint texts, but I have an ambivalent relationship with it—which can be hard to fully communicate. You have to sort of arrest the momentum that so many people have from being socialized into hierarchies of meaning. I am really interested in language as a feeling or material—present but not necessarily understood, or understood in a different way—more of a threshold than a destination. I think I see other objects and media in my work in this way too. 

In teaching the art workshop, what are you looking forward to the most?

I am really excited to meet the students. Every opportunity I have ever had to teach has been an amazing experience because of the students. That probably sounds cliche or like a kind of trite idea, but I mean it in a very genuine and expansive way. I think for me teaching is like making art in that it is about relationships. What can emerge when we take time and pay attention to one another is really profound. 

I am also really excited to visit DRBU again. I feel like it is a really specific and special place, and I am really interested in thinking through some of what is happening in my practice in that environment. 

What else should students know about you? 

I am very interested to hear about what the students want to get out of the workshop and also about their own broader relationship and interest in both art and Buddhism. I think the summer program theme probably kind of self-selects for some people with overlapping interests, but I also know that there are so many ways to understand and to practice. I feel like this is something that becomes clearer and clearer to me over time. I think I was much more interested in some kind of unreachable or pure thing when I was younger, and now I feel much more connected to and interested in what is actually more tangible and immediately available to me.

A lot of the young people I meet seem to have a really amazing ability to think through what is really important and to hold multiple things in their minds at once. They seem more comfortable with contradiction and multiplicity. I think it will be really interesting to find out more about what everyone in the program is thinking about and what they are interested in making.