I have been interested in the role that struggles of comfort play within our daily experience. I approach this interest with visual metaphors either through painting or installation, often utilizing self-portraiture to create allegories that are at once both highly personalized and universally resonating. In my work I strive to dive into and explore what are often un-resolvable dichotomies of human experience. Strength and weakness, gain and loss, failure and accomplishment, courage and fear, love and war. Forces that on the surface seem to be in contradiction to each other, but upon deeper reflection reveal themselves to not simply balance each other, but co-create and cohabit one another. Even dichotomies within the works themselves (such as use of the human figure against the use of inanimate objects) seem to start to take on certain qualities of the other. For me the tone of the work struggles to find a place somewhere between humor and drama, aiming to capture and magnify certain tensions within a perpetual state in which we cannot be free without also being un-free.
Herbert Marcuse once argued that our own psyche uses sublimated forms of comfort, at the hands of repressive institutions of control, to keep us just satisfied enough so as not to realize our own repression and thus distract us from our drives for the attainment of true pleasure. Comfort of this kind exists simultaneously as a form of freedom and repression. A permanent home, a steady job, accumulated goods, insurance for example; these things free us from anxiety of the unknown and the possibility of worse outcomes. Yet simultaneously they create more burdens and thus more repression, in that they require their own uber-maintenance and protection. As our property grows, so does our need for new forms of comfort. We have to purchase progressively larger and larger spaces, then heat the space, fill the space with purchased goods, purchase insurance to protect the goods, and so on and so forth; all requiring more income and strengthening the dependence on a steady, monetarily secure job. Thus further inflating our labor time and keeping us away from the actual enjoyment of those acquisitions and experience, thus establishing a psychological human reality in which struggle and comfort cannot exist independently of the other.
As a society we are constantly caught between our attempts to stabilize our lives and our desire to transgress the banalities of our day-to-day existence. We seek security as a means to free ourselves from fear and anxiety, while at the same time binding ourselves to the monotony of routine and the maintenance of the American Dream. In this way the line between freedom and imprisonment begins to break down, and one actually becomes the other. In my work it is often the attempts to stabilize oneself that inevitably over-complicate situations and generate more struggle or fall apart completely. Using a variety of media, I explore the psychological nuances between this freedom and imprisonment dichotomy, and the struggle to survive within a contemporary society.