Drawing on elements of storytelling and the visual language of religious and cultural iconography, my work explores the ways in which we view and interact with each other on individual and societal levels. The inspiration for my work often lies in personal experience that has been distilled down to a basic idea, which serves as a starting point for an investigation of wider applications of that idea. In a way, this approach is guided by my interest in Carl Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious; the idea that there is a common thread that links everyone across cultures and across time. What emerges from this process is a provoked emotional response similar or sympathetic to the reason the initial experience holds such personal significance. I try to touch on that elusive, vague sense of familiarity.
In addition to the collective unconscious, the concept of “camp”, as outlined by Susan Sontag and Christopher Isherwood, provides the clearest frame of reference for my work. Speaking of camp in his 1954 novel, The World in the Evening, Isherwood explained, “You’re expressing what’s basically serious to you in terms of fun and artifice and elegance.” My intuitive camp sensibility, supported by a diverse range of influences that stretches from Caravaggio and Aubrey Beardsley to Joan Crawford and Alexander McQueen, allows me to address those issues that are close to me in a way that also reaches others.
This manner of working has often lent itself to investigations of ideas regarding gender and religion. I combine figurative and symbolic imagery to address gender roles and expectations and confront the question: what makes something masculine or feminine? I also appropriate elements from baroque religious art as a way of cultivating familiarity in my work. I am interested in the way that a simple gesture or ornamentation can give the impression that a subject deserves reverence, and how that relates to the ways in which spiritual significance is determined or assigned. I also draw on mythology and folklore as a source of inspiration and imagery, particularly with regard to symbolism. My work, then, is able to touch on the collective unconscious, guiding the viewer along the tenuous border between the familiar and unfamiliar through the juxtaposition of the personal and social, the interplay between narrative and symbolism, and the inversion of the serious and the frivolous.