I took all of 2016 off from creating new work to recalibrate my practice. I went inside. I dove into the black hole of me to see what was there. I guess I was asking myself, "Who am I, why do I do this and what does it all mean?" I had fully intended to emerge from the other side at rest and walk away from making art altogether. I would just exist, maybe making things because it felt good. But the universe moves in its own way. There are things we want and things that choose us.
There was no way I would have foreseen creating what I have this past year-and-a-half. Somehow I went from looking with caution to throwing it into the void. I found something down there, not the answers but better questions. In the end, I traced the narrative of light from the cosmic to the personal by creating a video sourced from live views of space, three interconnected noble gas installations, and working with my family on a virtual reality memoir.
The work became OMNIA or everything. It's the story of galactic elements, light, data, communication, consumption, and the trajectory of it all hitting your eyeballs in the acute glow of an Oculus Rift headset. This work is an enormous gamble and on some level utterly ridiculous, but that keeps the actor happy and provides a kick no drug can.
Since its inception, the work has been sprawling, but in a way that has proven to be right at the limit of my capacity. Nonetheless, forward movement has been steady. Plan the work and work the plan they say.
I've field tested portions of this new work in several unplanned exhibitions. At the end of last year, a component of SOURCE CODE was shown in Döppelganger's Rosetta at Unisex Salon in Brooklyn. An in-progress version of NETWORK was in Julia Greenway's group show (in)compatible at Interstitial in Seattle in early 2017. One of the first pieces from this entire trajectory, a neon self-portrait, is currently installed at my gallery SEASON and paired with a brilliant painting by New York painter Sharon Butler.
Seeing how the ideas have affected people has propelled me to keep going. Progress is happening on the video, the large-scale installations are 50% completed, and work on the VR piece with digital wizard Grant Kirkpatrick and audio artist Fritz Rodriguez is making steady movements forward.
I will finish the entire body of work in late 2017. Even though I have no venue to show these efforts, I'm steadily marching on. I want to see this hubristic odyssey, to feel it all in one place. In the end, when it's complete, maybe I'll move to LA and become the painter I always thought I was or wanted to be. Whatever happens, I have learned two things: my art is not going to change the world but it transforms me and patience is just another word for faith.