Handstamps and the Ox and O's Series of Artist Boxes
In 2003, I began a series of carvings on the base of cast plaster hands. They originally served as chops to sign and date works on paper. The project evolved from symbols of personal significance to carvings based on social justice issues.
The sixty plus symbols in the series were organized into Artist Game Boxes that I call Ox and O boxes in honor of the Zen ox-herding illustrations. The symbols are paired in a boxes containing Tic Tac Toe grids. I think of the grids as decision fields and each game as a meditation on the relationship of the paired symbols. The Tic Tac Toe game itself if played optimally ends in a draw. These works represent a pedagogical tool for understanding ideas in opposition.
The handmade game boxes are collaged with images representing the choices contained with in the game and come with a pair of stamps, tic tac toe grids and a booklet of poetry.
Mount Analogue - Blue Squirrel/ Red Boots - This box refers to the unfinished novel Mt. Analogue by the French surrealist author Rene Daumal. The book uses mountain climbing as a metaphor for seeking enlightenment and along the adventure the protagonist must sometimes choose between the practical and the impulsive,
Haiti's Seed Money - Earthquake/ Genetically Modified Corn - The Haiti box is an example of crisis capitalism. In the aftermath of the earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti companies attempted to capitalize on the disaster. Monsanto was one such company, offering their GMO seed corn to farmers in return for the promise to forfeit their native varieties.
Play Money - Capitalist/Children at Play -The financial crisis of 2007/8 was a result of unchecked speculation and deregulation. The game box alludes to the child-like exuberance of the financial traders world-wide.
Power Play - Police Violence/ Playground - The Occupy Movement continued to expose state sanctioned violence against those who protest. The game pits baton wielding law enforcement vs innocent playground play.