I've been hard at work. My son was born a week ago yesterday and after 5 days of sitting still, growing used to the idea of being a father, coupled with helping my wife out and about, I started to get very antsy. I determined that I needed to create grids that were environments of their own. I wanted to control the space, both from the point of how a viewer would be able to access that space and where that work could be positioned.
A little over a year ago, I adopted an image of falling houses as an indication of nuclear families surrounding me but never feeling terribly apart of me. I'm now one child away from a nuclear family but that house image still sits with me. There is something very profound to me about the symbol that indicates stability, family, good health, American Values, and prosperity. I don't think any symbol of the American Dream is more accessible than the simple house. Our children understand it and draw it from a very young age. It is not so much the object which makes it important, but everything that it represents to the child. That is where his or her family lives. There they are, or at any rate should be, completely safe. It is a symbol of the thing that they have come to understand from living in a space with the same people for a number of years, people that most likely have been with you since day one.
During my wife's pregnancy and our ensuing birth, I began to lose myself in reading on cultures which stressed oral histories passed along through the bloodlines. The indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest particularly held my attention. The art work and mythologies which are so unique and specific to each tribe seemed a healthy alternative to the cultural sameness which modern America seems to prefer. The design and pattern in the work seemed to speak of an order and a logic by which the people lived. Naturally, as my social life changed, I sought out this same type of order through patterns of my own. I also started to reincorporate characters into my work, defining them through mythologies that I steadily made up. The final straw which cast me into this present work occurred while reading about Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. Christian missionaries worked with the Nez Perce, who were a very receptive nation, to instill in them the ideas of Christianity. After a time of adopting the Christian Religion, many Nez Perce returned to their owner dreamer faith. The Nez Perce believed in spirits called weyekins which would, they thought, offer "a link to the invisible world of spiritual power"(1).
This idea of spirits linked to spiritual power reminded me of David Lynch's Twin Peaks. I started to think about the White Lodge and the Black Lodge. My brain leaped to the falling houses again; symbols of a lodge, a home where people congregated, a spiritual dwelling. It suddenly made sense to create a lodge of my own. It is the Lewis's White Lodge, where the Mighty Lark is omniscient. It is a place of safety for my boy.
(1) Hoxie, Frederick E.; Nelson, Jay T. (2007). Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country: the Native American Perspective. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. 66–67. ISBN 0252074858. OCLC 132681406