Kew Settee: Artist Statement

Kew Settee

To walk is to lack a place. It is the indefinite process of being absent and in search of a proper. The moving about makes … an immense social experience of lacking a place—an experience that is, to be sure, broken up into countless tiny deportations (displacements and walks) compensated for by the relationships and intersections of these exoduses that intertwine. . .

–Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

I represent spaces that invite exploration – at the pace of a walker. I focus on the dynamic of environments – especially those places regarded as “natural,” where architectural features are designed less for habitation and more to move the body along.  Seen from the perspective of the human eye, at the pace of a walker, and the rhythm of a series of pauses, the environments I represent place us in a time before motorized vehicles. Though my images are rarely populated, there is an implied relationship between the site and those who pass through it. In Kew Settee, the photographed benches repeatedly reference unseen transients – and the spaces provisionally occupied by them. In their vacancy the benches signal desire – an expectation of comfort, rest, and calm, and at the same time they denote absence. The memorial plaques affixed to many of them herald this absence: Markers of the departed, these epitaphs remind us of the fleeting nature of the present. Amidst an opulent nature these two evocations compete for our attention. Are we walkers or sitters? Compelled by desire or slowed by reflection and loss?

“Though my images are rarely populated, there is an implied relationship between the site and those who pass through it.”

These benches sometimes gather (like gossips), sometimes they sit alone on the edges of things, and sometimes they are nearly swallowed by their environments. They wait for us, beckoning, promising place. Together they form a typography of points: points of view, viewing points, stopping points, resting points, meeting points, walking-to points, walking-past points, eating points, sleeping points, points to leave, points to occupy, crying points, truth-telling points, lonely points, points in which to situate ourselves, temporary points in space to hold on to or pass by. In the flash of an instant, in the step from one moment to the next, we are here, then gone, our walk breaking back into “countless tiny deportations” until the next stop.

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