Yes Sir No Sir This Way That
I enlisted in the US Army the summer before my senior year at the age of 17 because at that time, I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but I wanted a sense of structure and purpose. The recruiter asked, “Do you want to jump out of airplanes, run around in the woods and bite the heads off of snakes?” I said, “No, but jumping out of airplanes sounds fun. “ I was in the military for 3 years in a rapid response airborne unit, as a combat engineer from 1996-1999, during peacetime. This exhibit is a fantastical glimpse into the military, inspired by my experiences among the typical military suspects during those formative 3 years of my life. Though I have always had an immense amount of respect for the sacrifices that service men and women make, I have held onto my skepticism of the military system and its practices.
Do you want to jump out of airplanes, run around the woods and bite the heads off of snakes?” I said, “No, but jumping out of airplanes sounds fun.
Ceramic sculpture and portraiture, in particular, are forms of a visual narration that I use to satisfy my urge for documenting what I see in human nature. This body of work is specifically focused on my short-lived experience in the military and the memories and interpretations that continue to emerge as regularly as military conflict continues to emerge in the news. The stories change, but the characters remain the same.
Rank and years of military experience are represented through scale in the exhibit. My love affair with cartoons and animation influenced my manipulation of the figures. Their physical characteristics and oddities reflect who they are and what they have become during their time served. The fallen general, the misguided leader, is the largest piece and he reminds me of a beheaded stone monument after a leader has been overthrown. The two larger figures on the wall are the sergeant and sergeant major, both stuck in their rank and unable to get promoted. They are battered and weary from a hard life of physical work and rough nights of drinking.