Material Afterlife: UICA

Last Friday, the Material Afterlife exhibition opened at the UICA in Grand Rapids in which my piece, Styrofoam #6 was included. I created and critiqued this piece last semester as 7 small hanging sculptures composed of deconstructed styrofoam beads which I stitched together with black thread. For this exhibition, I combine the seven smaller sculptures into one with even more time and black thread!

The show is up through August 8. Check it out!

Styrofoam #6, 2008
styrofoam, thread


I’ve written about the subject of the slightly obscured quite a bit under the title of intangibility or “in between”. It’s just such a beautiful small notion for me to imagine the things that are completely transitional and unable to be contained. On one hand it seems inconsequential, but applied to a larger view of the world, it draws attention to the overlooked, forces us to form an awareness, gives validity to that which isn’t concretely defined.

Love is this way (don’t write me off for using the words love and beauty—I have a Plato reference—if you want to write me off for that, then okay!). I love how in Plato’s Symposium love is interestingly and insufficiently defined by each attendee of the party until Socrates brings in the reference to another person and beauty. When shared between two people, that’s when love exists. It’s intangible and so delicately dependent. Isn’t that a beautiful concept? I love it, just love it.

I listened to Marion Winik (an NPR contributing writer–or at least she was) often when I was working an office job a couple of years ago. Online radio was my main source of stimulation during 8 hour days in a small, windowless office where I was tethered to a ringing phone. There’s something really beautiful in the way she writes about her mental associations. Listen to “A Girl, a Dog and a Dad: Ghosts in Real Life” by Marion Winik

I saw JoAnn Verburg’s show “Present Tense” at MOMA in 2007. I bought the catalog and have referenced it often since. At first the photographs seemed really simple and elegant, which was appealing; but the more time I spent with them, the more I realized how those simple gestures informed a larger way of viewing the world. Here are a couple of Olive Tree images from the show:

JoAnn Verburg Olive Trees

JoAnn Verburg Olive Trees

About my work formally, stylistically and linguistically

Weaving in and out of clarity. Existent, but difficult to get a clear handle on. Fog does this, memory does this, veils do this. It’s more beautiful to leave room for the mind to guess and imagine than to be completely clear. There is a peak where ambiguity and clarity mingle perfectly.


What color is the grass at night? Is it green? Maybe a shade of navy blue; I’m sure Photoshop would tell me with the color sample tool and it would even give me the six numbers that identify that color. That’s the weird thing about seeing, experiencing, perceiving and remembering—there is usually a lot of discrepancy.

Cadence and Punctuation

The pace of bike pedals as they push to stay steady and to keep up at the same time. The end of a song or sentence. When successful it is a period, when weak it is a comma.

Textures are amazing both for looking and for touching. I love a well balanced texture.

Balance reminds me of another thing that is part of my working interests. Balancing like a balancing act; tipping and teetering and barely staying up. Not balanced like a well balanced diet or a symmetrical composition.That is where it becomes the most interesting; just enough, not too much. That’s what making art is for me a balancing act.

I’m not sure how I feel about fragments. It feels like an honest way to communicate and make things because of the way we receive information and remember things, but it still feels incomplete (of course).

Pieces with history

pull string

Pull String or LightWeight (cut paper and sting)


A sketch/piece with paneling fragments from our Holland home


Inspired by my childhood play…a new way of working for me