Artist Statement July, 2001

My current body of work consists of sculptures assembled from thousands of ordinary objects-- spools of thread, marker-pen caps, map tacks, etc. The imagery is derived from photographs, which I digitally manipulate and translate into "low-tech" pixels.

Within the framework of digitization, repetition, compulsion, and obsession, I am interested in the effects of current technological advancements on issues such as: what constitutes reality, the effects of scale on perception, and how the eyes prioritize. In my current series, nothing is what it appears to be: 20,000 spools of thread coalesce into a stone wall, 5,760 spools into a shoreline, 18,000 marker-pen caps become an undulating oriental rug, and 13,000 map tacks become a red bandana.

In order to illustrate the effects of scale on perception, I install the larger works such that viewers cannot back up sufficiently to see the photographic images directly. The photo-realistic images are only visible when seen reflected in strategically placed optical devices-- convex mirrors, reversed binoculars, or polished stainless-steel spheres. I utilize the element of surprise as a dramatic mechanism to present the idea that there is no one truth or reality, emphasizing subjective reality vs. an absolute truth.

I select materials based on their intrinsic characteristics, availability, and the range of colors. I strive to balance formal and conceptual concerns, placing equal emphasis on the "whole" recognizable image and how the individual parts function as abstract elements.

"Lie Like a Rug" is modeled after a rug that has been in my family since the 1950s. Although it looks like a hand-made Persian rug, the pattern is modeled after the world's first power-loomed rug manufactured by Karastan in the USA continuously since 1928. Constructed from 18,000 Letraset marker caps adhered to flexible canvas, the "rug" undulates and bends like an actual rug. "Red Bandana," constructed from thousands of Moore map tacks inserted in clear vinyl, is similar to the rug in that the imagery is instantly recognizable and that the work has an undulating, wrinkled appearance.

Overall, these works exemplify my interest in digital technology, repetitive processes, cultural iconography, "truth of materials," the feminist art preposition of bringing genres into "High Art," and the scientific "systems theory" which focuses on the whole as well as its part to gain understanding.

-Devorah Sperber, 2001