Billboard Back, 2015
From the New West，罗伯特·亚当斯
Z：你的作品里是否也有受到恐怖电影和和定格动画的影响？我超爱杨·史云梅耶（Jan Svankmajer）和奎氏兄弟（Quay Brothers）。还有超自然力量呢？
Night Garage，Day Garage，2016
我也很喜欢戈登·马塔·克拉克（Gordon Matta Clark），以及Fishli/Weiss（瑞士艺术双人组彼得·菲茨利与大卫·怀斯）的作品。前阵子在古根海姆美术馆的Fishli/Weiss的展览“How to Work Better”，绝对是我去年看过的最好的展览之一。我本科学的是陶瓷，所以我对黏土有特殊的感情。我很爱汤姆·萨克斯（Tom Sachs）的作品，特别是他在复制东西的时候对材料和物品的选择上。还有他的录像作品Waffle Bike，让我笑到哭。我最近开始喜欢尼尔·哥德堡（Neil Goldberg），特别是他在录像中对幽默以及动物的使用。
Splitting and the Unmade House，Gordon Matta-Clark
Waffle Bike，Tom Sachs
Still from the video One Version of Events No. 3 (2015)，Neil Goldberg
R：《Play Time》，作者Jacque Tati。
《Pure Drival》作者Steve Martin，一个好笑的短故事集。
Ladislas Starewicz的早期停格动画作品《The Mascot》以及他的《Tale of the Fox》，去找找海狮Wedler 发出的声音听，特别迷幻。
《UFO’s Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record》，作者Leslie Kean。（幽浮信徒必看）
以及John Karel制作的很酷的gif 图，包括了骷髅和植物的元素。
Hello Robin, it’s a pleasure to interview you. I know you just graduated from NYU MFA program, what’s life is like now? Could you describe a typical week on your calendar?
Life outside grad school is still pretty new. I am definitely in a place of transition. Having to adjust to life outside school is a challenge, but one in which I am trying to embrace. Paying rent and finding the time and place to make my art, are my top priorities at the moment. I was fortunate enough to land two part time jobs since graduating. In a typical week I work Monday and Friday for a small, but growing, fabrication company that specializes in beautifully hand-crafted furniture and design. I work in the office, helping to keep things organized and inventoried. Arguably not my specialty but working around creative types is always inspiring. Tuesday - Thursday I work for a local NY artist and teacher, John Pilson. He is a photographer and I work as his studio assistant, helping with a variety of art related project. The rest of my time is spent cycling around Brooklyn, going to gallery openings, and downsizing my studio practice to fit into my small Ridgewood apartment. I guess it is a good thing I work in miniature!
What do animals mean to you? For me, I have very complicated feelings towards them. Animal-human communications are very instinctual and uncertain. And what roles do the animals play in your work?
I too have a complicated relationship when it comes to animal and especially when it come to animals in my work. I try to keep the two things separate. I would say I am an animal advocate and care about the environment quite a bit, but these are not things I want to talk about in my work. My work is not about animal rights or conservation, although I do find the collision of the natural world and man made world to be quite absurd and futile at times, and those are subjects I am trying to explore. I pull nature into my work; i.e. plants and animals, for their aesthetic ability to talk about futility, illusion and the surreal. The shapes and nuances of animals also add a nice contrast to the stif realm of the human constructed world.
Have you been compared a lot to Thomas Demand? I think although your and his work share the uncanny character, but in details you can be totally opposite. You embrace the mundane as well as the imperfection, while his work is almost sublime. What contributes to your aesthetic as well as material preference?
Only, all the time, or at least most of my time in grad school. It seems like every studio visit I have with someone new, Thomas Demand does come up. Like you, I do think our work is comparable and I am happy to be compared with him, as he is one of my favorite artists. But I do think we have more differences than similarities. We both create architectural environments that we capture with photography, but I think our similarities end there. I work with different materials and far different influences. While Thomas Demond creates life size replicas of places where important events took place I do the opposite. I create small scale models and they are usually a combinations of unimportant places. These places are not ones in which I want my viewer to recognize other then that “know”, it is, a place. Although my earlier work definitely references the surreal, I’d say my recent work tries to talk about illusion; What we think is “real” vs reality. I use mostly cardboard and hot glue to build with, because it is the quickest, easiest way for me to sculpt and I find that I can manipulate the material just enough to be convincing to my viewers while still leaving behind clues of its construction.
Why photography? How do you utilize the flatness and stillness of photography to help you achieve the “tricks”? What made you focus on the illusion of reflections in your MFA show installation?
On the 2-d plan I am able to put my viewer exactly where I want them. Unlike a sculpture that allows one's viewer to walk around and look under and over their installation. I have created the stage and the exact angle of how you will view my sculpture. This allows me the freedom to control the light and atmosphere. The photograph allows my installations to be viewed from my perspective. The photograph allows me the control to perform my tricks. I am not as interested in the “stillness”, necessarily, especially as I explore videos and gifs within my practice.
I don’t see my work as photography, even though that is how most of the work is presented. I love installation and view my artwork more as sculptures that use the photograph as a pedestal. For my thesis show I tried to find a way of using the photograph itself as a sculpture. The photos became part of a greater installation, in my attempt to make them into something other than photographs. My solution to this was to try and make them mirrors. With the illusion of reflection, my desire was to create an entirely illusionist space, with fake mirrors and fake objects; A space that might disorient, confuse or fully fool my viewer.
In your statement, you described houseplants as “an illusion of control”, is this a major theme in your work? You build the models, photograph them and then make them into space installations, is art making also a process of control to you?
Yes, well at least I want it to be, a better word I guess would be futility, or absurdity. I also have a dark scenes of humor so I use these word without the negativity normally associated with them. The process and the themes are definitely linked. I am using illusion to highlight the illusions in our “real” world. Everyone wants control, and I am no different. I have to constantly remind myself just what a lack of control I have and how insignificant and ridiculous life can be sometimes, ok there is my dark scenes of humor again. But yes, control, or lack thereof are themes in my work and what better way to express that to have my process be on in which I completely control the environment that I photograph.
There’s a lot of humor in your video works. In “jump” and “bend”, you make house plant models into puppets that act almost like human beings. And in your “Baby Girl” series, you crawl into the walrus suit and act like a domestic walrus. Why do you enact plants as humans and human as walrus?
Well you nailed it, I do it because it is funny! Comedy is something that inspires me and I would like to have as more of a central part of my work. Most of my photographs may not seem funny but they all have their roots in something that at least to me is absurd. I am a huge fan of Steve Martin’s stand up, maybe this can help answer your question. Being an artist is an endless search for thinking of things that don’t exist, that you want to exist, and then making them exist! Sorry there is not a better answer to why plants or why the walrus. They both came about in vastly different ways but can be connected with the idea I had for a body of work called “One With Nature”; in which I would find different ways of being one with nature and expose the absurd and futile ways that humans attempt to do this.
In your models, you seem to focusing on constructing specific types of locations, like homes, art studios, and natural history museums. You described: “I use the subject of the home or room because it is familiar and safe… It’s underwhelming and routine, like an old lover.” Are you attracted to places that look a little obsolete? Besides that, do you refer to earlier photographer’s works when constructing places? (Like Robert Adams’s American houses and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s natural history museum)
Obsolete is a great word, I would use mundane or boring as well. Because I am trying to achieve illusion rather than magic, subtly or slight of hand, becomes extremely important. I absolutely refer to other artists for my education and inspiration. You totally got me on Robert Adams. I can’t lie that I straight up tried to copy two of his photographs. I believe that we learn from copying things. I learned a whole lot about lighting and depth just from trying to mimic Adam’s work. As for Sugimoto, I do love his photographs but at the time that I made most of my taxidermy work I was actually looking at the work of Richard Barnes. I didn't know of Sugimoto until later. I think whenever you're interested in the intersection between man and nature, the natural history museum becomes a particularly fascinating place to study.
Is there also an influence of horror films or stop motion animations in your works? I love Jan Svankmajer and Quay Brothers. How about supernatural powers? (Like in the work “Alein”)
Absolutely, all of the above and I am flattered that you got that from my work, that means I am doing something right! I wouldn't say horror as much as i'd say I do like the surreal and uncanny constructions of Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers films. I am also attracted to their works for their use of miniatures, stop motion and puppetry. I am also a self prescribed alien, supernatural and conspiracy theory believer. I think the fact that I believe in actual aliens visiting earth does tend to creep into my work. Have you ever watched Ancient Aliens!? That TV show is pretty much my bible. I am also a big fan of a TV show called Ghost Hunters, as well as the podcast Sasquatch Chronicles. I love a good mystery and the tales of the unexplainable. I also am intrigued by the way these film makers use sound, something I rarely use in my own work but am inspired by their work to do so.
You often shoot the model in two ways, “daytime” and “night time”. What does the time of the day mean to you in your work?
I do have a couple pieces that have morphed into diptychs, with one being night and the other day. This came about because of my past reluctance to allow for “happy accidents” into the work. Or in other words my resistance to losing complete control. Each piece you see usually came from a very specific vision, that was then sketched out, built and photographed. I usually always have the angles and specific lighting in mind for each piece before it is built. I rarely allow things to change. These “night” and “day” pieces came about because of the natural light in my studio falling upon my sculptures at different time of the day, literally casting shadows on things that were not in my original vision. I am trying to build more space in my work for spontaneity and new discoveries during the construction process. These pieces are my attempts to let my sculptures, breath and have a life of their own beyond my original intentions.
What are the artists’ works you like the most? Is there any recent art shows you like?
I am very interested in the work of Rodrigo Valenzuela, I believed you mentioned him as a recent artist you did a piece on. He has been very influential in my work in the last year. Coincidentally he was getting his MFA at the University of Washington at the same time I was getting my BFA there.
I am also inspired by the work of Gordon Matta Clark, and Fishli and Weiss. The Fishli and Weiss show, How to Work Better, at the Guggenhiem was definitely one of the best shows I have seen this last year. I actually got my BFA in ceramics and still have a special place in my heart of clay. I love the work of Tom Sachs, especially his choice of materials and objects that he replicates. Also his video piece Waffle Bike, makes me laugh till I cry. I am a recent fan of Neil Goldberg, especially for his use of humor and animals in his videos.
Can you recommend us something? Like books, movies, music, etc.
All Jacque Tati’s films, but especially Play Time. UFO’s Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record, a book by Leslie Kean. For any ufo fan, it has some amazing accounts and has only furthered by belief in extraterrestrials. Pure Drival, is a book by Steve Martin. It’s a book of short funny stories. 2001 Space Odyssey, but I am sure everyone has seen that. Most recently, and I am embarrassed to say I never saw it until a week a ago, David Lynch’s Eraser Head. This film just about blew my mind, no pun intended! The Mascot by Ladislas Starewicz is one of the earliest stop motion animations and it is fantastic, also his, Tale of the Fox. They are both beautiful and mind blowing in their creation. Now I am on a role. Look up the sound the Wedler seal makes, it is super psychedelic. And then there is the Vine of Avery Monsen. Holy cow, I don’t even have words for this guy. This guy John Karel also makes pretty rad gifs, involving skeletons and plants.
艺术家网址 Artist’s website: