“My sculptures begin with new commercial packaging materials purchased at local hardware stores which offer structural givens of both volume and surface. These flat-packed materials are assembled and then covered with plaster, paint, resin, rubber, wax, varnish and pigments which act as both binding agents and new surfaces to conceal or reveal the structure underneath.
While I adhere to truth to materials, these materials are also used to construct a level of artifice in the work. The transformation and elevation of the ordinariness of the humble cardboard box fascinates me. The initial building up of each form is countered by acts of crushing the cardboard boxes, which results in their forms being both damaged and substantially reconfigured. This act of crushing utilises my bodyweight, and might be variously read as playful, aggressive, cathartic or darkly humorous.
My work finds an initial footing in Minimalism, a largely male-dominated era, where artists such as Donald Judd made anonymous ‘specific objects’. While my work embraces the manufactured, utilitarian materials of the world as found objects, there is an emphatic emphasis on my interventions as a maker. There is physical labour involved in making the work, but not through overtly gestural conventions associated with the likes of Abstract Expressionism. Rather, my practice utilises apparently destructive gestures in order to create the work, and may offer a playful critique of both art movements. Further, their tensions between surface and form, image and object, collapse the distinction between sculpture and painting.
My work meets Minimalism out of an ascetic drive, and an “it is but it isn’t” adherence to the idea that the material is the material. However, it differs from Minimalism’s austerity in its rejection of cool, austere finishes. My work seeks to complicate the values associated with certain materials and the codes of art – a cardboard box as inexpensive and pedestrian, its coating of paint an embellishment of decorated skin – and leave these productive tensions unresolved.”
Monique Lacey, October 2020.