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The Puzzle of Pattern: Self Portrait with Fish

Pâte de Verre, Cast Glass & Laminated Digital Printout
Dimensions Variable (largest element 15''H x 15''W x 1.5''D)
2009.
(Private Collection)

Landscape As Portraiture

It struck me that there was a connection between the patterns of the sand, the patterns on the fish that swim over that sand, and the patterns on my hands which I use to catch those fish. When viewed simply as patterns they’re indistinguishable; I am the landscape and THE LANDSCAPE is me.

The reading of this piece is a dialectic process between the work and its interpreter. The visual ambiguity of the various elements prompts the viewer to be an accomplice in the making of meaning. Without this engagement we simply have a vaguely interesting collection of patterns. The artist seems to be saying that it is in the act of interpreting information where we create meaning out of meaninglessness, purpose from randomness, connections between the seemingly disconnected.

The installation consists of four 15 x 15-inch square sheets of glass sand—displayed on the wall like three-dimensional models of exposed tidal sand flats. Mounted next to them (in the same grid pattern) are four miniature glass castings, each roughly 1-inch square. Each casting is domed and polished, magnifying an image behind it. The images transition from brightly colored patterns that might belong to tropical fish (but seem to simultaneously echo the patterns in the sand), to a final black and white image that appears to be a finger print. Each pattern is only slightly different from the others, so that we are left to wonder which are images of fish and which are actual finger prints.

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