For years as a graphic designer I worked on communicating economically. Now I’m interested in pushing that idea of economy to its limits, even to the point of impeding communication -- how much information can be removed or transformed, how much must be left behind to retain the narrative?
Since 2010 I’ve been making work using the front page of newspapers – mostly, but not exclusively, the New York Times – by cutting patterns based on the geometric forms typical of the architecture of Moorish Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East. What might be seen as a destructive process of removal has the paradoxical effect of highlighting the content left behind, while creating an object of fragile beauty in which the passing stories of the day are at once altered and preserved.
The formal elements of the cutwork are both visually and conceptually important. The delicate structures are reminiscent of mashrabiyyas, lattice screens used for privacy, which keep out the heat of the sun but allow light and air into a room. In the same way, my work seeks to let light enter the opacity of our fixed ideas and beliefs.
The theme of loss runs through my work – from the literal loss of parts of the page and pieces of information, to the loss of understanding between cultures, to the encroaching loss of a print tradition, to the urge to memorialize an event. More recently I’ve begun to work with textiles, using commemorative t-shirts, or printing images from the news on children’s blankets. The cut away shapes in the textile works are not formalized- they suggest destruction more assertively, reflecting increasingly aggressive attacks on the press and society in general. Destruction is literal in my series on The Federalist Papers- the text of the original documents is subjected to burning and deterioration.