Geometric solids are part of the basic vocabulary of art, used to teach artists how to render three-dimensional form. In Island, I take these shapes beyond a purely visual function, giving them symbolic meanings about human identity, relationships, and destiny. By using light to create spatial illusions and tonal ambiguities, and also incorporating human figures into many of the images, I want not only to represent my own internal struggles, but also to make viewers think about their connections to other people and the world at large.
In the Surrealist language of Island, cubes and rectangular solids essentially represent individual human lives. Yet these shapes are in and of themselves uncertain symbols: Being so sharply defined, they can be seen as a form of containment and confinement, representing the limitations of human expression and connection. Yet the shapes are, essentially, blank. This not only creates a clean slate onto which viewers can project their own personae, but also suggests how hard it of-ten is to “read” other people. The very fact that the images are difficult to interpret in a spatial sense is meant to be representative of this. A corner might be seen by some viewers as a protruding form, for example, yet by others as an inward one. Yet to many viewers, both interpretations may be visible, and my hope is that this produces a sense of unease and uncertainty—not unlike the feelings of anxiety and con-fusion we feel as human beings as we seek to establish social identities and relationships.
In building my own sets, shooting them with hard, controlled light, and adding the figures in post-production, I want to make the final results In avoiding too literal an effect, my hope is that Island challenges viewers to think about their own place and role in our social world, and in particular how they may appear to other people—while accepting the human differences that make us unique individuals.