Museum Cases

Museum Cases was supported in part by grants from the Arts Endowment Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation and The Vermont Arts Council.

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The Museum Cases installation references an old-fashioned “curiosities” museum. The sculptural elements assembled in the cases are made from weathered man-made and natural materials. As I gather (and subsequently manipulate and assemble) these materials, I become an archivist, preserving and bringing into new relationships oddities from material cultural and natural history that would otherwise disappear into the planetary dumpster.

When we consider the reality that wood, metal, and stone are slowly degraded and composted in the natural course of things, and that most of the millions of tools, shirts, bowls, and other products of human manufacture are discarded and lost in time, objects that are preserved take on a numinous quality that elevates them to a kind of iconic status.

The configuration of the eight cases is flexible, so each space in which they are installed becomes a new “museum,” with visitors making new meaning out of the small worlds in each case.

There are eight cases in the Museum Cases series. These are“implied cases” whose sides do not have glass or plexiglass. You can reach right through the sides! When I exhibit them I do not give titles to the pieces because I want people to create their own narrative about them. What is happening? What happened before, and what is going to happen next? Every person who has seen them has a different take on what they are about. I have, however, given titles to the pieces for the purpose of organization of this website.
I am intrigued by manufactured and natural objects that have experienced the effects of time and wear, especially those that have been sculpted by natural forces — water-worn wood, sticks chewed by beavers, and old bits of metal. This kind of natural wear-and-tear is, for me, Nature as Sculptor , and I regard my manipulation of these found objects as a collaboration with these natural forces.
Like my work in other series, the effects of light and shadow are important to the understanding of the pieces. How we cast our long or short shadows in the world is critical.
Bones, stone, wood, metal. These very different materials are sometimes so strikingly similar.
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