Images Scroll LeftMille-fleur, 2011
State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR
Aluminum, glazed terracotta, rubber grommets, silicone
20’ x 7’ x 15"

Mille-fleur represents a new direction in my work. It departs from the monochromatic wall sculptures inspired by the Minimalists, and transformed by a decorative surface treatment, that constituted my solo exhibition at Rule Gallery in Denver -- All is Leaf -- where minimalist wall forms and “overgrown” animal statuary suggested a deconstructed garden in ruin. By introducing an image from a 15th-century tapestry tradition that refers to an idealized field, not a wholly abstracted one, I explore the notion of inbetweenness. This piece is simultaneously an architectural fragment (a boundary, a garden wall), a freestanding sculpture echoing minimalist traditions, and a painting (a space of illusion or theatrical screen).

As with my previous work, this project aimed to navigate the territory that exists somewhere between the language of the decorative and that of the monumental.  Mille-fleur is a 20’-long freestanding wall, fabricated of aluminum and clad with 15,000 handmade ceramic leaves. On one side these glazed leaves feature an image, adapted from the meadow backdrop of The Unicorn in Captivity tapestry.  The effect is an illusion of a meadow of flowers superimposed upon a field of sculpted leaves.  In invoking a meadow that appears to continue past the confines of this wall’s edge, I hope to dissolve the boundaries suggested by the wall itself.  From a distance the image will appear like a film projection onto a screen, while up-close the viewer will see a field of varied glaze colors, drawing attention to the delicate dance between perceptions of fragmentation and wholeness.  On the opposite side of this same wall, a continuous surface of green leaves, variable in tone, creates an enclosure and suggests a garden by one defining characteristic - the boundary that separates it from the surrounding landscape. In this project I aimed to create two opposing experiences of landscape in one object –one of the illusion of expansiveness, the other of its presence and containment– both profoundly embedded in our notions of the garden.