Anastylosis is an archeological term defined as: the archeological reassembly of ruined monuments from fallen or decayed fragments, incorporating new materials when necessary. This is very close to a description of how I see my work, except that I often do this process in reverse. I take monuments or symbols and break them down into fragments, incorporate some new material and put them back together as objects that confront issues I feel are critical to contemporary society.
Like an archeologist these works are carefully researched with elements excavated from disparate places in geography, time and memory, then reinterpreted and reassembled as carefully created objects that carry an underlying sense of decay. I very much believe in the necessity of art as a way to understand the world and like Ernst Ficher that “art in a decaying society, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay.”
For this series I have taken apart Americans flags string by string, completely disassembling them and then reassembling them into two separate flags made only of vertical and horizontal strings respectively. The end of each string is threaded through a needle and then placed over prints of polarizing imagery and presented as a diptych. I feel that the extreme polarization we are currently experiencing: socially, economically, and politically is literally rending the fabric of America, so this work is a physical representation of the state of the Union. For me these vertical and horizontal strings once separated become paradigms for viewing the world, that now polarized as opposites can never fully integrate.
In addition to the physical flags I have abstracted the string shapes into grids that have been screen printed over polarizing imagery as a print series. This felt very natural to the work as some of the imagery started off as posters, which were appropriated and re-imagined through the grid of these opposing world views.