My recent photographs explore the edges between portraiture and still life and between happenstance and deliberate artistic creation. The subjects are parts of papier-mâché Mardi Gras parade floats dismantled and stored in a New Orleans warehouse to be recycled for future parades. The scene is a surreal, chaotic mélange of figures and fetishes from classical mythology and popular culture.
For me, these images are visually compelling; they incite pure visual curiosity, the first step away from the ordinary. Conceptually, the float relics challenge the common intuition that our identities are immutable extensions of our inner selves. The spectacle of the dismembered float figures is a metaphor for the inexorable, mysterious recycling of our own personas that takes place as we live our lives. In these accidental still lifes, the deconstructed figures are avatars of their played-out public identities, yet also ghosts anticipating the rituals that will transforms them into new made beings for the next parade. I’ve titled them “Post-Portraits.”
I search for visual mysteries that transcend the tradition that has defined photography as a literal, objective record. I prefer the rich ambiguities of photography’s subjectivity. Photographs of visual experiences that evoke intense wonder or excite the imagination are texts that engage the artist and the viewer in an evolving process of creation.