artist statement
Having been raised in Utah as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church), I have inherited the unique culture of a tightly woven and historically autonomous community. Though Mormons share the landscape and history of America, many Mormon customs and beliefs vary from (or are even contradictory to) what many consider modern American values. As a part of this distinctive culture, I feel we have also developed an unusual visual language and aesthetic. My artwork is an exploration of this particular visual legacy and an examination of how it interacts with the culture of America and the language of the contemporary art world.

As a result of my upbringing in the Mormon Church, I have always been aware of my genealogy and heritage. Seeing the extensive maps of our family’s ancestry has influenced my perspective of my own mortality. Drawing inspiration from the phenomenon of time and history, many of my working methods employ processes of simultaneous accumulation and decay. My familiarity with these visual family diagrams has also made quantity an important element in my work. I am fascinated by the intrinsic structure of numbers, as well as the differences that exist when viewing the individual, versus a family, or a community of objects.

Influenced by the emphasis on food storage in LDS culture, my sculpture often involves canned or storable food items and other emergency supplies. I am most comfortable when involved with cooking methods and ingredients, and for me they carry a greater significance and have more creative potential than most art materials and processes. In my recent drawings, I begin by making marks on paper with olive oil, grape juice and other edible materials. I then bake them in the oven, which stabilizes the olive oil and darkens the paper and the other drawing substances.

Many of the images I use, such as the sego lily and the beehive, have historical significance or are symbolic emblems representing the state of Utah or the LDS Church. I often use the image of the Angel Moroni, a trumpeting figure who sits atop most LDS temples. I have also used shapes and images that are derived from actual funerary monuments or inherited objects.

Though much of the material and imagery I use carries specific meaning within the Utah and Mormon community, I hope to communicate ideas of spirituality, safety, legacy and ceremony that can be understood by a universal audience.