My works are Combines since they reconfigure disparate elements from the mechanical world, exploring the interface between machines and organic life forms.
In my current work I combine biomorphic (human, aquatic, avian, insect) references with modernist era futuristic fantasies about the power of the machine, the potential joining of mechanical with biological forms, and extraterrestrial organisms inspired by sci-fi movies. The formal biomorphic references in my work arise from these 1920s-1960s period car parts themselves, whose designs purposely recall organic structures.
I conceive of a scenario in which the detritus of a mechanized culture arises and recombines with organic material, by chance and then by design, into independent new forms, based on their inspired absorption of the present life forms of earth. This fantasy is derived in part from the ever more advanced developments in genetic engineering, gene therapies, cloning and genetically modified foods, in which the line between natural and artificial is continually blurred- and the combination of machine and organism has already begun in such inventions as the molecular transistor and a computer made of neurons from leeches. Conversely, the cells of living bodies are in a sense a collection of molecules acting like machines- these molecules have the ability to assemble and take apart other molecules, using a template to construct new molecules. This work comprises a chief area of innovation radically changing our world today.
My work is in one sense a nostalgic homage to the cult of the car and American industry of the past: these objects were mass-produced yet are beautifully crafted, and represent a peak period of creativity, optimism and prosperity in American commercial culture. There is also an element of critique in my work since these now antiquated objects represent an outdated utopian dream of the future, driven by wanton use of hydrocarbon energy and electricity, that is now afflicting economies and the environment on a global scale.
This StudebakerMatic Combine includes a Flathead Ford headlight housing (1930s), spotlight (1930s-1940s), Studebaker dash panel insert (1940s), flexible arm and wheels (contemporary).