My evolving obsession; the ideas that sustain my creative process.
At the core of our being, we are compelled to explore and understand our environment. We are universally drawn toward the phenomena in our world that mystify our imaginations and drive our inquisitions. Through experimentation and creation, we attempt to build models of our world using both rational and creative modes of thought.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with the rhythmic nature of the way "things" work; in fact, one of the first books that I recall owning was David Macaulay's “The Way Things Work”. Macaulay’s book explored simple mechanical systems through a variety of comical situations with cartoon woolly mammoths. For the first few years of grade-school, I carried the 384 page hardcover book everywhere. I studied the book meticulously during school lunch hours and the bus ride home. The writings inspired me to explore and ask questions about the workings of various household items. On occasion I was motivated to disassemble toasters, blenders, telephones and mechanical pens in order to understand how the parts all moved and worked in conjunction. To my parents' dismay I was not always able to recall how to reassemble them. Nonetheless, my parents understood my ways, and never got mad. Soon after they realized that I seemed to have an interest in this sort of thing, they would bring things home for me to take apart, and challenge me to put them back together.
My parents enrolled me in a youth development program where I learned to service, repair and restore small engines and other mechanical systems. As I explored mechanical devices, I discovered that they could be understood rhythmically as a series of components working in unison to achieve a complex task. Finely tuning the various components to work with one another would result in harmonious operation, while tweaking one component too much would result in catastrophic failure. Another critical factor in my developing interest in rhythmic systems was the study of music. Growing up, I was always involved in musical lessons of some kind. I took piano lessons, and although I never mastered playing, I did learn to read and write musical notation. I soon realized a strong parallel existed between the rhythmic patterns in music, and the mechanical patterns of movement in machines. The small engines and machines that I restored resembled concert orchestras; each component contributing to a coordinated symphony of combustion, kinetic movement and exhaust fumes. I continued to explore music, playing various instruments– including the bass guitar and tenor saxophone, and began to understand the world as Einstein said– musically. The final engagement was competitive swimming. A particular stroke had to be performed with attention to rhythm in order to attain maximum efficiency. The movement of the body had to be in perfect sync; the legs and feet moving in unison with the hands, arms, shoulders, back, chest and hips. I began to wonder if it was a simple coincidence that rhythm seemed to be the predominate theme to so many different systems.
In my first few years as an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary, I took a number of electives. These courses introduced me to new concepts, but also confirmed the rhythmic nature of things that I had suspected. Furthermore, the rhythms and patterns present in cellular functions, the various ecological systems on earth, and the birth and death of stars are all kindred. Although I was interested in understanding the operation of the various systems within and beyond the world, I became fascinated with exploring the recursive relationship of these systems; the architectural framework that is consistent among all of them. The presence of this "framework" was beginning to seem much less coincidental. I was looking for ways to articulate and understand this “recursiveness” artfully. Through sculpture, I discovered ways to explore and express these systems in ways that related to my interest in the physical and rhythmic structure of things. According to American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, in order to learn about and appreciate the universe, “...it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.” I believe that rhythm is the "mother tongue" of the universe.
My works are projections of rhythm, movement, space, and time. They explore the intersecting area where tangible materials meet and interact with light; the relationship between physical presence and phenomenal essence. The fourth dimension.
"An abstract thought is as spectral as a beam of light, but both are capable of articulating the space between points of observation. Rhythm, movement, space and time continue infinitely and intangibly into the metaphysical realm; light is the conduit to this space." Kirk Dunkley