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When looked at through the lense of morality, human beings are quite funny. We are constantly wedging ourselves between fires; something so much grander than ourselves. It’s something we are very good at. For example, an entomologist leads an expedition into the wild and discovers new species of insects that can be wiped out with the swipe of a farmers machete. Should the farmer wipe out the species, or should the farmer go hungry and let the insects live? In this situation we ask ourselves what the right thing to do is, but that’s the catch; the right thing doesn’t really exist. Humanity lives on a quick-moving spectrum in which either way you turn, you or somebody else gets burned. This thought prompted me to start an investigation into the fragility of our human ecological structures, more specifically the consumerist society that we’ve created and the ability for it to collapse at any time. To do this, I make reflections between man and nature, creating a balance between calm and chaos while navigating the ephemerality of modern society's ideals. I’ve constructed a visual dialogue with imagery such as tree logs, flames, shopping carts, targets, and vultures. As consumers, we feed off of information that is left behind and recycled with the possibility for it to build up and become too much to handle. This is why I use the symbology of one of my favorite consumers; the Vulture.
Drawing, screen print and ceramics are mediums that I use to explore this visual language. Bold and limited color bring attention to specific areas of my compositions that may have the potential to connect and go wrong, most especially in my drawings. The large scale drawings confront the viewer allowing them to reflect on themselves and their own place in the logpile that we call a world. In contrast, my screen prints utilize smaller dimensions and delicate hand drawn qualities to reinforce the essence of fragility in our society's constructs. My ceramic works use the imagery from both my prints and drawings giving them a chance to exist in a three-dimensional plane. Throughout each of these mediums, I am finding things that I can attach meaning to that help me to find order within the chaos.
I take inspiration from printmaker Erin Wohletz, for their compositions and ability to delicately render their subject matter. Nichole Rae Klein also inspires me with her oil paintings that represent tense and off situations. Confronting these tense or off situations is important because in this world where we consume so much, whether that be information or physical objects, we must find ways to cope and be prepared for the future. We have to question ourselves about the things that we consume and the things that we put out, and put our thoughts into how this will impact our lives and the times that have yet to come.
Todd Herzberg, Nicole Hand, Sarah Martin, T. Michael Martin
The exhibition Between Fire consists of charcoal drawings, screen prints, and a ceramic installation. The works explores the fragility within our incredibly quick-moving consumerist society. Imagery such as cut tree logs, flames, and vultures are used to enforce the feeling of tension and overwhelm. In this work, reflections are made between man and nature, creating somewhat of a balance between calm and chaos while navigating the ephemerality of modern society's ideals.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Schell, Ashley, "Between Fire" (2021). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 76.