My most recent body of work involves bicycles. I chose to use these simple pieces of engineering because they are so universal in nature, and I have come to see them as a metaphor for humanity. Throughout the world, only our ability to walk is used more as a means of locomotion. The bicycle exists in every culture and the knowledge of the bicycle mechanic is universal. The skill to repair a bike is the same in Boston, Bangkok, Beirut, or Beijing, and language is not a prerequisite to solving the most complex bicycle problems.
I am delighted that so many people find my work familiar and ask if they can ride my sculpture, or ask how I might ride those that I have clearly worked beyond rideability. The desire of the viewer to touch and climb upon my work has led me to see myself not only as a sculptor, but also as a toymaker. Using bicycles, I have found myself viewing them both as conceptual and as figurative objects.
In our consumer society, we leave piles of bikes to rust as we rush to buy newer models. This aspect of the human condition is symptomatic of the strained relationship we have between technology and nature. We dismiss much of what we have done to our environment in the name of progress, while continuing to utilize finite resources. It is this relationship that fascinates me. Just as I have taken these old bikes and attempted to give them new life, I hope you will be reminded that we must do more with less and each of us must be prepared to rediscover older and more sustainable technologies for our lives. An ideal place to begin this process would be for all of us to participate in National Ride a Bike to School/Work Day on October 7.
I ask you, the viewer, to look beyond the functional aspect of the bicycle and discover a new aesthetic within these familiar objects. If we can do this, perhaps we can look beyond our own emotional, mental or physical limitations and find an expanded understanding of the “normal.”
Tuesday August 30, 2011 | 7:30
DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB