After spending my formative years as a stills photographer, I happened across the work of John Heartfield, Hannah Höch and the 1920's Dadaists. Although I come from a lineage of photographers, and grew up camera in hand since age 6, I had never seen photography used in this way. These works inspired me to expand the narrative direction of my own photo-based work, through the use of collage.
As a child of the 1960's and 70's, I am drawn to the optimistic, uncynical message in advertisements from mass media of that period. Using portions of these ads and other imagery from my archive of mid-century magazines, I build pictures by deconstructing the originals, cutting and pasting elements out of their intended frame of reference. Juxtaposition and scale combine with saturated colour to produce surreal, hypnogogic and sometimes humorous re-workings.
The moon and cosmos are repeating motifs in my work. Growing up in the sixties, there was so much about the moon in popular culture, with Kennedy orchestrating the moon shot, and Neil Armstrong the first to walk on the moon. It was all very exciting, smelled of "the future" with a whiff of Cold War hidden beneath the surface. Glued to our television sets, this event was perhaps the first truly global, socialized, media spectacle. There is something about our moon, a distant friend, always present but untouchable, that preoccupies humankind even today.
Coinciding with material from this more recent age, I also mine popular culture references from the 1940's. Theses earlier sources speak to me about my relationship with my father and his stories of escape from persecution in Hungary at that time. I am the product of his ingenuity and survival through an incredibly difficult epoch. This is my history; his stories were, literally, my bedtime stories. And so when I see advertising from the 1940's, I am drawn back to those stories, my childhood, and my late father. It's a comfort zone, but it also encourages me to ask questions about who I am, and my own identity.
For example, my image "The Hitchhikers" references my father's view, common at the time, of how extraordinary America was, and how it represented freedom. I am viewing the current decline of the American Century’s hegemony through this nostalgic lens. "The Hitchhikers" comprises of two women, holding onto the back of a 1940's era US army plane as it speeds through the sky; a surreal, fantasy based, escapist representation, culled from my father's tales of heroism and liberation.
A viewing of an exhibition of Alexander Calder’s mobile sculptures inspires my series “Lines and Vectors”. After seeing the sculptures at close range, and having the mobile shapes dissect my view of the scene behind, I began overlaying linear, graphic elements - drawn line, contour and translucent colour - on top of my black and white collage images, dissecting and interrupting the underlying image. I consider this an extension of my multi-screen New Media work, where video sequences are frequently suspended, disjunctive and blurred, distorting the viewer's visual and emotional sense of place.