Observations exists as both an artist’s book and a series of
larger, individual paired prints. It continues work I began 14 years ago
with my series "Signal to Noise" and "Dry Reading,"
which were also books of paired prints in textual frames that lead a double
life as wall objects.
Visual themes running through the series may involve a formal or color
resonance, or center on subject matter in which the camera is used as
a collection device for visually related forms or objects.
Textual themes may have more to do with what the text looks than what
it says, though not always. I create readable text through various techniques
involving "processing" by several custom computer programs.
One involves getting text from web sites that have information somehow
related to the images and rearranging the words randomly. I comb the results
for interesting or seemingly meaningful phrases, which I then emphasize
in some way. In fact, the series title came from the random phrase "Mars
observations judge science." (I like phrases like "supercooled
fact" and "visual number light" because they come full
of mystery and grace out of the blue.) Or sometimes I write a program
that will search a computer dictionary for words with certain characteristics,
like having another word imbedded in them or having a certain number of
The computer has been my art-making tool of choice for well over two decades,
and it is essential to my approach. If given a choice I will use the computer
even if things can be done more efficiently by other means. ("To
a carpenter everything is a nail.") But I have always felt that I
worked outside the mainstream because I prefer the computer for its ability
to create new relationships, locate patterns, organize and paginate, rather
than as a "collaging" or "effects" tool.
in Mars Observations come from my own camera. Since it is important
that "Mars Observations" have a factual, documentary appearance,
l use photographs that have an illustrational quality to them. While I
want the pictures to have an appealing aesthetic quality, I also want
them to appear to be examples of "something", even though it’s
hard to say what the "something" is.