Acrylic, enamel on thermoplastic and panel
6 x 6 x 2 inches
About The Naïve Realists:
Naïve Realism is the human belief that we see the world around us objectively and that anyone who disagrees with us must be irrational, evil, or stupid. In 2021, we are all Naïve Realists.
When confronted with a “heretic”—defined as anyone on the other side of an argument—we feel entitled to embody the roles of judge, jury and executioner. Intolerance blinds us to the fact that every individual’s perspective is the result of a unique set of lived experiences; ones that come together in an alchemical reaction and give rise to a worldview that is mistaken for the one true reality.
In this new body of work, I present a processing machine that converts life experiences into hardened convictions. I identify the ingredients that go into the making of a worldview—biology, culture, education, environment and value system —and the subjective realities that are the product of those inputs.
For “The Naïve Realists,” I build on a series of wall sculptures I have been creating since 2017. Made of hand-shaped pieces of translucent thermoplastic (an artist-grade Shrinky-dink) mounted sideways on birch panels and cubes and trimmed with gold enamel, the sculptures refer to the art of stained glass while imbuing it with a third dimension. Drawing upon my previous experience in haute couture, I employ and embellish dress forms to represent two naïve realists: two people with divergent viewpoints.
Individually, many of the sculptures reference the palette and hard edges of Sol LeWitt. With multiple layers of meaning informing every detail of the installation, I attempt to pay homage to deeply researched works such as Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party.”
This series of wall sculptures was begun in 2020 by injecting color into the grayscale “Drawings in Three Dimensions.” Central to both of these series is a sketchbook whose entries are approached like visual puzzles. An experiment in pareidolia, the sketches begin with a few abstract black marks on a white page and are “solved” by the application of arbitrary rules. The finished compositions invite interpretation by the viewer like seeing shapes in clouds. These two-dimensional drawings are brought up to the third dimension by breaking them apart and reconstructing them as objects. I recreate lines and forms with hand-shaped and painted pieces of thermoplastic mounted on panels. When viewed frontally, the sculptures often appear as little more than lines on a page. However, they reveal their dimensionality when viewed from other angles, challenging the notion that the truth of anything can be fully known from a fixed perspective.