Hand knit acrylic and buttons,
2006. 80" x 23" x 6"
Hand knit acrylic and buttons, 2003.
80" x 23" x 6"
Courtesy of the Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA.
My work has addressed gender roles and definitions for many years. As my children were born and have grown the work changed based on the shifting realities caused by their presence in my life. The first changes had as much to do with how, where, and when I worked as they did with the content and appearance of the work. Abstract sculptural forms based in a Utopian philosophy of ambiguous gender roles and identities gave way to work that directly explored masculinity and the social mechanisms that reinforce our expectations of men. In 2003 with my kids stretching the limits of their world and independence I thought a great deal about how little I could protect them from the dangers we heard about regularly in the media. My family lived in Arizona at the time and the cast of local, national and international bogeymen included illegal immigrants already here and on their way here, bullies, pedophiles, priests, terrorists, Right Wingers, Left Wingers, the neighbors, fluoride in the water, and on and on. The questions, "How would I protect my family," blended with my use of pop culture heroes and a series of hand knit wearable superhero costumes began. It seemed only logical and a natural extension of my interest in gender for me to become a superhero and explore the personal relationship of family, gender, protection and fatherhood. Re-creations of the costumes of real hereos like Batman led to the invention of my own heroes based in the traditions of knitting and the materials, Sweaterman. The acrylic yarn I use is in reference to my Mother and the sweaters she made for me as a child - sweaters meant to protect me from harsh New England winters. On one level the suits then embody three generations of my family.