UPSIDE DOWN IN PARADISE
‘Upside Down in Paradise’ is a series of jewelry which explores imaging the natural and cultural landscape of Southern California, expressing the poetic paradoxes found in the day to day of ‘California Dreamin’ as photographed or recorded from ‘the road’.
While ‘Upside Down in Paradise’ has a particular geographical reference, its subject is inherently universal- in the diversity of ethnicities and social histories which make up the culture of California, but also in the common experiences of (re)locating oneself in an unfamiliar place, or the perceptions developed while traveling through.
I have been collecting visual research for years; taking photographs and videos while traveling by car or train within SoCal. The viewpoint provided by traveling in climate controlled spaces of cars or trains, on the freeways or tracks, as they transect the natural landscape became a resonant framing device. As a relatively new resident of California coming from Northeastern U.S. urban environments, I can’t help but reflect on the history and socio-cultural conditions evident in the urban roadside scenery, especially in relation to the magnificent natural beauty. As an artist, I tend to see the potential metaphor in everything…
The vestigial glamour of the California idyll of the 1950’s and 60’s, palpable in the faded commercial signs, and architectural facades which punctuate the roadside with their gemstone-like shapes, and generous proportions, against the expansive blue sky inspire oversize jewelry with sun weathered surfaces.
The imagery is distorted and fragmented reflecting the heightened awareness, continuous movement, and endless sky, sea, roadways, and … dreams- encountered when going to California in your mind. The landscapes show no consistent relationship to the horizon or gravity, amplifying the surreal sense of detachment car culture provides. At times the freeway is a sea of cars; green interstate signs are floating clouds, and the freeway flyover brings the sense of a passing ship. The necklaces translate those sensations as the passenger becomes the wearer – surrounded by the landscape-with a disorienting view.