Architecture is one way in which we control our environment. By providing shelter, we protect ourselves from nature. In urban settings the skyline is interrupted by skyscrapers which swallow up space and dominate the view. While they provide a controlled environment for those who inhabit the spaces, they also dictate the placement of nature, and the movement of living beings outside. Nature is sublimated by, or in some cases replaced with, buildings historically created by male architects. Their dominance makes an impression formally, in addition to inspiring ideas about the relationship between nature and culture.

For many years, driving to my studio in downtown Los Angeles I’ve observed how the horizon seems to continually change due to construction. Looking out of my studio window I see fragments of buildings, such as “The Brewery” smokestack across the 5 Freeway (Interstate 5) which appears to cut the sky in half. Driving around Los Angeles, and various other cities, I’ve observed multiple storied sharply edged buildings, which look like pyramids, aggressively cut into space as they merge towards a vanishing point. I am also reminded of the Tower of Babel, built in an attempt to reach the heavens, and it seems that this construction will continue into eternity.

I am impressed with the way nature adapts, in particular the way that birds utilize these man-made structures for their own purposes, in the absence of trees. They perch, nest, and leave their droppings without concern for those below. While evidence of their existence is only addressed when they are a nuisance, birds in this context are otherwise ignored, yet they leave their mark. Their droppings drip freely and disrupt the appearance of custom paint colors on high-end office spaces and lofts. Nature, while displaced, asserts its will on culture, and as an artist I have become aware of this tendency, and have attempted to literally assimilate this into my work.

I use a formula of bird droppings mixed with acrylic paint in order to lighten colors, and also to create an awareness of that which would otherwise go undetected. In my paintings and drawings, informed by the environment, I incorporate fragments of different architectural styles into structural pyramids which appear to extend into space like constructed trees. Looking at the columned buildings of Le Corbusier, or the work of contemporary architects such as Will Bruder, John Friedman, or Greg Lynn, I have observed the structures at different angles and from multiple points of perspective. In my work I also use layers of Plexiglas, vellum, or other translucent materials, which reference the use of glass and plastics in contemporary architecture, allowing some degree of transparency. The perpetual construction of high-rise buildings conflicts with my emotions, yet these structures inspire my work, while the birds provide the final artistic stroke with their droppings.

May 2013