Full Artist's statement
My work investigates our relationship to the landscape we live in and the imprint we leave in it when we’re gone. My original inspiration comes from witnessing the death of my father and experiencing that profound grief in my early twenties. He had a tremendous presence in my life. Touching his hand after he died transformed my perception of the world permanently. He looked the same, but he felt like a faux person, only a replica of who I knew him to be. It was in that moment that I realized our body is only a façade, a container, whenever there is no life within it. This experience led me to question the meaning of all supposed authenticity and try to understand what exists beyond our superficial perception. My art thus explores the simulations of nature as expressions of the human desire for immortality.
I use false materials, especially of stone, to create sculptures and installations. This trompe l’oeil effect alludes to sacred places that can range from tombs to natural rock formations. I explore how far I can push the boundaries of imitations to inspire reverence and respect for their visual effects. My goal is not to deceive, but rather to generate life from the faux. Upon close examination of my work, one will easily notice that its materials are not real, but rather plastic sheet printed with a stone pattern or stone-textured house paint. My use of these materials is my way of connecting the transient nature of life to our surface-oriented and disposable culture.
Stone is often used in many cultures to commemorate the dead, as it symbolizes strength, stability and permanence. Personally, stone is a metaphor for my father whom I thought was invincible, so by extension, my use of stone implies memorialization and a desire for permanence. I explore ways to immortalize “façade” through art, because art always transcends time. Every artwork has a monumental quality. It commemorates the artist and his or her life and times, and there is a timeless aspect to it. A monument is the physical replacement of an event or people, once the actual object or person it commemorates is absent. The monument itself thus becomes an alternative to the original.
Many of my sculptures are hollow inside to emphasize that there is a void under the surface of any monumental structure. Opposing states coexist: hollowness inside bulkiness, physical lightness inside visual heaviness, and immanence within emptiness. They are only surfaces, yet they may be much more than that.