The Night Mannequin Series
To look at a mannequin is to look at ourself reconfigured. Mannequin figures are humans formulated through the lens of commerce -- formed to reflect our social aspirations. In other words, they're mannered, often elegant or bewitching contrivances. By photographing a mannequin through a store window, the boundary separating that unreal world from this real world is smashed. The act of evisceration decontextualizes the figure -- stripping it of its commercial corset.
What remains is something approaching a human figure, and yet several layers, or visual iterations, removed. On the whole, I'm not fully convinced that a camera can capture or genuinely elicit much of the character/personality (or other soft treacly matter) of the sitter. Who's to say where earnestness ends and artifice begins? Thus in this series I use the tropes of portraiture to capture figures that foreground an explicit tension between the real and the artificial. By focusing on the startling verisimilitude of these faces, while also including the screwed limb joints and slightly unnatural body proportions, my interest is in that intriguing moment when the real and unreal come together -- or merely fissure -- within a figure.
What's more, my intention is that these images move towards (or, ideally, even become) paintings for the viewer. By using the visual tropes of portraiture, in particular the final pose, saturated colors, and interior sensibility, I'm attempting to reference portrait painting. Just as the portraitist is for the most part unable to get at the essence of his sitter, I, standing on the sidewalk in the middle of the night, a sheet of plate glass separating myself from my subject, am hard pressed to capture more than the surface of a surface. Yet by reclaiming a commercial space, and making private what was once public, my hope is to engender a strange, disturbing beauty in the everyday inanimate.