About the Work

Drawing from concepts in science fiction, folklore and various religious texts, I’m interested in layering the intimate, emotional and spiritual aspects of storytelling with the seemingly banal presence of technology and contemporary world conflicts. With elements of sound, light, color, binary codes, and clay, I make 2D and spatial works which refract such narratives, and confront myth and mysticism amid our digital, googleable era.

I frequently think about the golem of Jewish folklore and Kabbalistic texts, the iconic clay android of brought to life through incantations. For me, the subject represents a curious cross-section of mysticism and science-fiction. It is an emotional embodiment of desperation, anxiety, naivety, physicality, and uncanniness, summed to a central theme; the desire to bring life to an inanimate object. While golem narratives have initiated a fantastical muse in my art-making, the subject has evolved with a conceptual process of conjuring and memory and projecting emotion into material objects and spaces. With a background in painting, I reach into extended materials such as clay, objects of memory, ‘apparitions’ of natural and synthetic light/color, and a variety of sound elements. Likening sound processes to “incantations,” all the ingredients of my installations work together as meditations on assigning life to a body.

Years of contemplating the subject of the golem have arrived at a multivalent interest with the process of formation. I identify physical space and organic materials (clay, tar, straw) as anatomical. In the installation settings, I wish to confront an audience with the perception that these metaphoric “bodies” are formed and activated from the presence of light, color, and sound.  I hope to convey the feeling that such audio/visual/physiological experiences are visceral and ephemeral, that they are the forces that have tempered malleable shapes into concrete, recognizable forms. With combining sonic, visual and sculptural methods, I desire to confront an audience with physical and emotional awareness, and a shifting uncanniness of familiarity in conflict with unfamiliarity.

©JS-Horseman, 2020