For the Mattress Factory Art Museum, I created a small and large three-dimensional word balloon. I fabricated the sculptures by layering and shaping sheets of extruded foam that I then covered with plaster. I then elevated the word balloons off the ground with a series of 2 x 4s.
I wanted to explore how the act of daily speech has the capacity to carry a significant intellectual and emotional weight. When manifest in the physical world, these words can be so light and yet so heavy that they need to be braced in order to remain in the world.
Photo Credits: John Peña & Tom Little
Letters to the Ocean
Paper, Envelopes and Stamps 2003 - Present (ongoing)
Every day for the last ten years, I have sent a letter to the Pacific Ocean. The letters are returned by the US Postal Service with markings indicating that "no such place exists." I have over 3,000 returned letters which I have exhibited at various points in the project.
2009 - present (ongoing) graphite on paper
Every day for the last five years I have made a drawing about my day. You can view past and present drawings at www.dailygeology.com.
I also make and sell monthly books of the drawings which are available for purchase at the Daily Geology Store.
Untitled Cloud Series (ongoing)
2007 - present
A series of short videos in which I explore shadow and light in the natural world.
Outrunning Clouds / 24 seconds
Shadow / 33 seconds
Car / 25 seconds
Puddle / 1 min 25 sec
Thoughts on a Blue Sky
Acrylic on Brick Public Mural 2009
I was commissioned by the Sprout Fund Public Art Program to create a mural for the neighborhood of Lawrenceville in Pittsburgh, PA. My intention was to create a large-scale blue sky with a series of thought bubbles that would rise from the horizon and transform into wispy clouds.
I have always been fascinated by the relationship between thoughts and clouds, both as images and as metaphor. With this mural, I wanted to create a composition that would have an immediate and compelling visual impact, but that beyond the initial reading, might complicate, question and evade the viewer.
Special thanks to Brian Brown for the painting and support. Additional thanks to Curt Gettman, Jonathan Kline & Christine Brill.
Things That Fly
Kinetic Sculpture Wood, Paint, Acrylic & Pulley System 2012
I was an artist in the TOUGH Art Residency Program at The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. During that time, I prototyped and tested my installation on the museum floor and finally created the work titled "Things That Fly." This project consist of a 4' x 6' wooden structure that is painted to look like the back of a digital camera. Behind this frame, there is a blue backdrop meant to emulate the sky and on the wall are a series of props that visitors can position within the frame to create a "scene." They can then see what they are creating through a live video monitor which faces the frame.
Video Documentation / 1 minute 55 seconds
Plywood & Screws 2009
I built a cow out of plywood and installed it in a cow pasture in Skowhegan, Maine. Over the course of two months, I documented the way in which the weather and cows affected it. The cow is currently installed at The Campbell's Farm in Skowhegan, Maine.
I was a resident artist at the Blue Sky Project. I worked with a team of eight teenagers and one university artist to create a series of video works called "Natural Translations". In these videos, we used our bodies to replicate natural elements and forces. We discovered that by doing so, we were able to create a brief but magical moment that provokes both laughter and contemplation.
Video / 1 minute 40 seconds
Letters to Nature
"Letters to Nature" consisted of a message that our group wrote to a patch of grass. The text appears and disappears depending on the wind, position of the sun and movement of the clouds. It is intended to be a whisper that just touches the landscape and quickly disappears. This clip is unedited and was not digitally enhanced. *Special thanks to Alexa, Chloe, Shay, Rachael, Rebecca, Mollie, Christany, Megan & Jeen.
Video / 1 minute 45 seconds
102.9 Sounds You Never Hear
In collaboration with Jon Rubin
102.9 FM "Sounds You Never Hear" was a radio transmission experiment created by Jon Rubin and John Peña in a vacant building in Homestead in Pennsylvania. This 8-block radius low-wattage transmission broadcasted rare and obscure field recordings that one would normally never hear in on the radio.
102.9 FM takes its inspiration from the history of the building, which in the late 40's was the site of a radio station that hosted DJ Porky Chedwick. Porky was one of the first DJs in the country to play African American music (gospel, blues, R&B and jazz) on popular radio. In this spirit, 102.9 sought to challenge the redundancy of popular media by presenting a model for radio as a site for rare and first-time discoveries.
The first sound being transmitted was a field recording of "A Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Extinct)" which played on a constant loop. This particular sparrow went extinct in 1987 and as 102.9 FM's first broadcast it presents a metaphorical relationship to the now extinct steel-industry that once surrounded the vacant Homestead building.
The second broadcast was a field recording of the confluence of the three major rivers in downtown Pittsburgh. The sign read, “Where the 3 Rivers Meet Underwater.” In this instance, the idea was to record and present a sound that is local and familiar in presence yet was something that one would never normally hear. Equally absurd was the fact that the Rubin and Peña with the help of undergraduate Jonny Minard kayaked to the spot where the three rivers met, dropped an underwater microphone and gathered their recordings. In November 2007, Peña and Rubin were forced to shut down their broadcast by the FCC. (This project was hosted by the Steel Valley Arts Council)
Sand, Water & Photography
I created deceased birds out of water and sand that I collected from the Pacific Ocean. I then released the birds into the Columbia River which connects to the Pacific Ocean.
Steel Sign and Photography Desert Aire, Washington
Using a steel sign that read "Hope," I waited until sunset to capture the shadow of the sign on the landscape.
I used leaves to draw the shadow of a tree then documented with photographs.
I fabricated twenty-five unique leaves out of sheet steel and installed them on the beach near Grayland, WA. I then documented the leaves in relation to the changing tide.
Enclosure: One Ellensburg Cloud
Cardboard boxes, Tape, Stamps & One Cloud 2005
I packaged a cloud into 150 white boxes and invited residents of Ellensburg, Washington to help me send them around the country and around the world. I sent out the announcement through the radio, newspaper and individual invites. When people came to my studio, I provided them with the postage and they could send the cloud to whomever they wanted.
I held an event in downtown Ellensburg and during that two-hour period, we sent off 80 boxes with clouds around the country and around the world.
150 boxes full of cloud and my informal Cloud Mailing Station.
Helping participants send their clouds and marking on a map the destinations of all the parcels.
The "Cloud Post Office" with the last batch of boxes being addressed for delivery.