a collaborative exhibition with my husband, Jesse Walp.......
We met twelve years ago in art school and since that time, our lives and our artistic practices have ebbed and flowed and intertwined. Over the years we have often had the opportunity to make sculpture side by side in shared studios, and this closeness led us to create work that, at times, has been both conceptually and formally tied with our respective works each containing influences of the other’s. The relatively new role we now share as parents has brought us together in a much more profound way, where in both life and art, we are not just influencing each other, but truly collaborating.
The aim for my sculpture has always been for it to feel as if imbued with life, like it has grown into existence of its own volition. These forms suggest plant growth and also borrow from the animal realm with outstretched stems, plump clusters, and layered segments. As I create these pieces, I am inspired by thoughts of the internal energies and processes that bring natural forms into being, and hope these works promote exploration and elicit discovery. As a man who spent his childhood in a home built deep in the woods, I feel an urgent need to foster in my children an understanding of how compelling, beautiful and complex nature is, especially because their early years are being spent in a house, on a postage stamp yard, within a concrete landscape. Though squeezed within the confines of the built environment, the dandelions pushing up through the cracks in the sidewalk, the rolly pollies underneath the rock in the backyard, and the decaying log in the park still play a very significant role in their understanding of the natural world.
The influence of motherhood has made its mark on my work, and the animal figure has become much more personally symbolic to me since I have had children. The hungry baby bird, and the furless and helpless newborn mouse perfectly embody this season of my life, where nurturing and protection are paramount. Explorations of the beauty, vulnerability and fragility of the natural world, and our species influence on its degradation go hand in hand with a desire to shelter my children and to ensure their blissful ignorance as they are threatened by countless dangers. Concerns about the morality of our politics, the health of our environment, and our own species’ ultimate survival are amplified when they are seen as a reflection in the eyes of our children.