As an art student in the mid 1980’s at the University of California, San Diego, I studied painting, drawing, sculpture and photography, but UCSD was an extremely conceptual program at the time with Allan Kaprow in the Chair position. I developed a sense of political activism working under Fred Lonidier, and I studied with Helen and Newton Harrison, Faith Ringgold, Eleanor Antin, Italo Scanga, Many Farber and others.
I still have some images of some paintings from that time that demonstrate an early interest in border politics and the exploitation of the migrant workforce.
Also, this work shows and interest in panoramic and immersive image-making.
I became increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional institutions of art dissemination. Museums and galleries seemed to entomb the very culture that they claimed to support. The market driven oligarchy of high culture could not risk capital expenditure on living forms of art. It seemed apparent that contemporary high culture was destined to become yet another victim of late industrial consumerism, just another commodity fetish to be bought and sold for the highest price.
As I looked for models to build my own artistic practice, I became increasingly drawn to the Native American pictograph and petroglyph sites of around San Diego and beyond.
San Diego was going through a feverish bout of strip mall, suburban development at the time and my outrage grew with the ongoing loss of San Diego open space. I felt that the only honest thing to do as an artist was to use my work in service of my environmental concern.
I began to question the way that this work differed from the work that I was seeing in the museums and galleries. Apart from the speculations of meaning and intent the rock art was fundamentally site specific and public and undoubtedly it was directly relevant to everyday life.
Here are so selected images from the portfolio that I applied to graduate school with.
The media is mixed. I created found object and plaster bandage sculpture which I placed in the environment and photographed with a 4″ x 5″ field camera. I made 20″ x 24″ silver prints. In some cases I painted on the prints in enamel.
In graduate school the environment was to become the subject of my work and one issue rose far and above all others in Boulder, Rocky Flats.
|Sculpture in the Park|
|Operation Greenrun II|
|Dominion Is, version 2.0|