Hook Crook, Fair Foul
2017 - 2018

Photography by Hai Zhang.
Shown in Queens International 2018: Volumes
Queens Museum
, NY 

Organized by  Sophia Marisa Lucas and Baseera Kahn.

In recent sculptures I have been using the form of the handrail. The handrail is a system for support that bridges the space between a body and structure. These works play with the formal aspects of a handrail, but disrupt expectations of stability, assistance, or guidance with their precarity, vulnerability, and displacement. The materials I use to make the rails vary, but I often use plasticine, an oil-based clay that never completely hardens or dries, records its own making and the touch of curious viewers, and bridges the gap between the hand and the eye.

One series of rail, all titled Hook Crook, take on an ambiguous quality; each conceived of as a displaced section of railing, they do an uncomfortable double time as possible staff or baton, a "tool of support" defined more broadly. They wait, cantilevered, in large steel hooks set in the wall. The hooks are the kind you would find in a garage, and here they lend the railings a sense that they are a part of a system—tools. Hook Crook, Fair Foul in Queens International will be my largest yet, a sort of library of possible rails, with many hooks left open and empty.

I've taught for more than thirteen years, most of that high school and younger. I'm always aware of balancing supporting and guiding on the one hand with creating situations that allow for risk-taking and vulnerability on the other. Teaching reminds me that lining up our expectations and hopes for our lives and society with our limited grasp on both requires a continuous awareness and responsiveness. Neither our limits nor possibilities should be taken for granted. 

The Hook Crook series are individual parts coming together in site-specific relationships, but that might be separated again, repurposed, or recombined. I think of a "volume" as part of a whole; a whole constructed and visible via a system for a particular set of knowledges or uses. The logic of an encyclopedia, catalogue, or collection, is idiosyncratic. In some systems, specific points of familiar contact lead us to believe we can create a sense of the entire logic, but total comprehension can be elusive.

The titles of the works in the Hook Crook series point to actions, indicating that verbs like waiting or accepting are active states, too: Hook Crook #3 (Giving When Pressed), Hook Crook #4 (Longing for Lawyers to Solve Our Problems), Hook Crook #10 (Pervert Your Focus), Hook Crook #13 (Takes No Show of Soft Forcing), Hook Crook #12 (Gave Good Conspiracy). I feel that the amplitude of each piece fluctuates with which other one is nearby. Their volume is relative to position and the group context.

— 2018