In 2015 I made a lot of paintings of my neighborhood’s buildings at night, or of abandoned cabins in the Sierras. These became increasingly abstract, focusing on the repetition and disruption of the patterns of planks and boards. Parallel to the paintings, I made small sculptures of buildings from scraps of discarded wood and these houses and towers started to grow in scale.
The installation Lookout is a natural extension of that work and was made especially with Sand City in mind. When I drive highway one through this area I always have the feeling of being the very edge of The West, of being where the ocean emphatically sets the boundary of the continent. I’m struck by the City’s mix of shifting-sands fragility and industrial robustness, and Lookout tries to reflect this.
The tower visually uses the vernacular of functional coastal architecture, yet its purpose isn’t clear. Even its scale is odd – it’s big enough to be imposing but almost comically too small to be of much use. The act itself of “looking out” can be construed as either defensive even paranoid, or optimistic and hopeful. The stilt-like construction and its “island” of sand may allude to coastal erosion and rising sea levels, but could also make it a symbol of endurance and survival. Either way, a lookout tower is all about anticipation and things to come, so I hope the piece encourages viewers to ponder those things and make their own individual interpretations of the piece.