My current body of work - Reclaimed - began in the field of photography. While searching for photo inspiration, I found myself visually drawn to makeshift repairs on old barns and farm structures. The unintentional patchwork of the farmers was every bit as interesting any abstract painting. After experimenting with found and reclaimed metal, I began to realize that I could create my own similar works rather than photographing them. These works became my own way of exploring and referencing the agricultural heritage of my past. In my birthplace of Lancaster, Ky., many families depended on the extra income that raising tobacco could bring, and my own family worked as sharecroppers over a few acres every year. As tobacco transitioned out of favor (and for good reasons), the barns that once served as rural landmarks have fallen into disrepair – slumping into heaps among new land developments. In using the roofing tin of these old landmarks, I am creating something new while referencing our past.
In making this body of work from recycled metals, I can find my raw materials almost anywhere, from roadside ditches to donations from local farmers. Since my work references painting as its principal source of inspiration, I begin by building a frame from wood, in nearly the same way I would build a canvas stretcher frame. When a desired composition is achieved, I begin fastening the metal to the front of the frame, nailing, or screwing it through the wood, carefully considering how the pieces overlap and interplay with the structure underneath. The repurposed metal is used in the same way a painter's canvas covers the corners and edges of the frame.
My work in this series is strongly based in the traditions of painting and collage. I utilize the same techniques of composition as I would use in making a painting, and hope that these works are considered as paintings, although they could just as easily be considered assemblage or collage due to their "found" nature. Because the work is solely dependent on available resources, the process is highly improvisational - making each piece unique. The particulars of how the pieces join and fasten together via nails, screws, nuts and bolts, and washers have come about by necessity as much as aesthetic values. Inspiration for these works can be found almost anywhere, from dilapidated architecture, Mondrian and the found object works of Robert Rauschenberg and Marcel Duchamp.