Information washes over us like a wave, day in and day out. Our senses are constantly gathering data about the world around us, and to simplify this flood of information, our automatic response is to search for rules and patterns within it. Over time, the patterns that we have discerned become the ideas and beliefs that we live by. But these patterns can also hold us back, acting as preconceived notions that fence us in. My work with folding digital images probes this dual nature of patterns as both tool and tether.
Having a background in particle physics, I deconstruct and reassemble images in much the same way that a scientist manipulates data. My raw materials are digital photographs, which I print on paper, embellish with drawings or embroidery, and then cut and fold into three-dimensional geometric patterns. As I work, I document my progress in photographs, and I use these images as starting points for new pieces, to be layered with other material, printed, and then sculpted again. So, each piece directly generates another, and the trajectory of my practice therefore mirrors the path of science, in that every nugget of knowledge gained is not an end unto itself, but rather a seed for something new.
Ultimately, my work approximates how we struggle to understand the world and how that labor never ceases. The hard-won patterns that we overlay on our materials are inadequate to fully describe them; the mathematical regularity of my folds appeals to our innate affinity for order, but achieving that order requires disrupting the underlying images. These imperfections are the cognitive price we pay for knowledge. Thus, patterns, being of practical use but only provisionally valid, have the ability to both seduce and challenge our faculties, and they bear witness to the complicated connection between seeing and thinking. By adopting the language of pattern, I seek the honest engagement with information that motivates artists and scientists and also undergirds democratic societies, a foundation that may be inevitably flawed but is nonetheless entirely necessary.
I was raised in North Haven, CT, and I live and work in Ithaca, NY. After obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics, I became a research associate at the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education, where I am currently the IT Director. My artwork has been exhibited in numerous venues in the Finger Lakes region and beyond. Apart from scientific journals, my writing and artwork have appeared in Stone Canoe, Lunch Ticket, and Caldaria. I have previously served on the boards of The Upstairs Gallery and the Light in Winter Festival of Science and the Arts, and I am currently on the board of the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.