The thousands of individual pieces that together comprise the Bibliophylum wall installation may resemble natural or cultural artifacts, but are in fact carved from wax-embedded books.Pinned to the wall in loosely organized groupings of color, size, and shape, the arrangement of these small pieces suggests a classification or order, while the objects themselves defy categorization.The pieces, carved from wax-hardened books, retain word fragments now removed from their original context, altering both the books and their meanings.
Osborn residence, Design by Joshua Rice, Photo by Justin Clemons
Exhibiting fluid movement and serene elegance, the pieces in the Wave series are designed to evoke feelings contrary to those normally associated with the material from which they are carved: PVC pipes. Each pipe has been cut and sanded to create ripples of light and shadow across the face of the waves. In the larger pieces, the waves grow larger toward the center of the piece, amplifying the sense of motion.
The sculptures in the Implements series are created by gluing thousands of pencils together and then sanding the outside of each form. In doing so, each piece exhibits a contrast between man-made geometry on the inside, and an outside evocative of natural shapes and textures. Interior and exterior have been reversed: inside the sculpture you see the outside of each pencil, while the interior of the pencils is revealed on the exterior surface of the piece.
The wall installations in the Cerebral Mapping series are crafted from books, cut into thin strips, entwined together, and coated with wax. Organic shapes and swirling lines reflect patterns in nature, from capillaries and neurons to rivers and deltas. The sequential logic of the book is dismantled and re-ordered to resemble the beautiful chaos found in the world around us and that within our own bodies.
This series began on a beach in Iceland littered with pieces of glacial ice. The ice pieces appear regularly as a nearby glacier calves off chunks that float in the ocean, melting into extraordinary shapes until they are washed ashore and later washed away in the tide. Each day unique shapes are created as the ocean carves the ice, and each day these beautiful natural sculptures melt out of existence. Immutable Ice is my attempt to preserve the ephemeral beauty of these fleeting forms by carving them in marble, lasting and immutable. This effort is a gesture: an evocation of a moment; a desire to preserve that which cannot be saved.
The soft texture exhibited by the pieces in the Spine series comes from the act of hand-tearing pages from books. The remaining book spines are then assembled together to create their own reference to the spinal column.
Created with a non-traditional ceramic burnout technique, the pieces in the Porcelain Skins series are experiments in which familiar, store-bought materials are transformed into shapes that suggest coral, shells, or calcified remains. This process involves dipping groups of cotton material into liquid porcelain, letting the liquidized clay penetrate the surface of the cotton balls, Q-tips, or napkins, and then firing these materials and clay together in a kiln. During firing, the cotton ignites and burns away, leaving only the porcelain as a husk of the original material that shaped it: a skin.
Reading Our Remains
Reading Our Remains is an ongoing collection of altered books, each piece inspired by nature and the ever-changingnatural world.The collection began as an exploration in obscuring text: creating pieces in which visual form became the subject to be read.This process eventually evolved into a meditation upon erosion and decay and the preservation of culture through time. Inspired by fossils, geological specimens, and organisms of all kinds, these books have been re-formed into objects that seem better suited to a natural history museum than a library.Viewing them has also become a new experience: we are reading and studying ourselves, the specimens we are, and the specimens we might leave behind.
Soft Cell Tissue
Biological imagery, specifically that of magnified tissue cells, inspired the Soft Cell Tissue series. Rolls of toilet paper are squeezed together, their edges shaping and impacting one another, much like that of living cells. The rolls of toilet tissue were identical, but after being lightly burnt and pressed together, the final, wax-hardened pieces exhibit a multitude of shapes. While the cardboard centers have been removed from many of the rolls, those remaining function as the nuclei to the cell in these works that bridge the man-made world and the microscopic world of our own cellular biology.
In this series, rather than turning man-made objects into the shapes and forms of nature, the opposite is occurring. The series approaches the themes of information and language from a different direction—here thin strips of wood are cut, broken, and assembled into large tablets of textural pattern suggesting encoded or digital information. The complex binary of these pieces is both random and orderly, leaving us to guess what encoded message has been cut into the wood.
Archaeologica is an installation designed to evoke the look and feel of natural history museums.These institutions show us civilizations and creatures of the past, but they also reflect our present culture through what we choose to display and how we explain it. Archaeologica turns a critical eye towards both the museum and our current culture by displaying specimens made out of present-day disposable objects: toilet paper, coffee filters, toothpicks, Q-tips and more.These common materials have been put through a series of processes that transform them from the ordinary objects we know into curiosities resembling natural forms and formations.Displaying such objects not only twists the normal systems of scientific or historical value accorded to museum specimens, it also causes us to look at ourselves, our relationship to nature, and the artifacts and legacies we will be leaving behind.