I am a visual artist, a sound artist, and a scavenger. I explore the aesthetic possibilities and reinvention of discarded “junk”. Deconstruction as construction, and the process of thought as architecture are featured throughout my practice. Some people take home kittens. I take home refuse. I find inspiration rummaging through scrap metal yards, surplus stores, thrift stores, the remnants from a film shoot, and trash at the side of the road. I see beauty in the rubble. Blending traditional mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, and sound with my found ‘treasures’, I give this otherwise ‘trash’ its second lease. My work brings together disparate objects and differing points of view in an attempt at reconciliation. By physically unifying and transforming the fractured and discarded, what was once haphazardly ignored or deliberately dismissed is re-purposed and transformed. Instead of trash, it is now an imaginary landscape, an alternate world. With my  sonic-interactive work and interactive installations, I offer a collective, possibly fractured audience, the opportunity for a few minutes of unity via interaction with the work and with me, by way of music, the universal language.

As a visual artist and a sound artist my creative process is much the same, only the tools differ. I do not distinguish between these mediums but instead see them as parts of a whole. Utilizing my background as a vocalist and a composer and incorporating painting and sculpture techniques, I create inter-active wall sculptures that sing. With these wall sculptures, both sound art and visual art tangibly converge. Inspired by a plastic bag full of  “CPR Adam” face inserts that I found at a thrift store, I made the declaration: “I am going to make them sing!”. The CPR face inserts expanded to World War I gas masks. These are all given sound via my voice or musical instruments that I have played and recorded. These face inserts and masks are mounted on and set into wood panels and incorporated into their backgrounds using plaster wrap and tar, they are then painted and, occasionally, clay sculpture is added. Motion sensors, record/playback sound modules, and speakers are all mounted from behind. The motion sensors are triggered by the viewer and can be triggered in any number of sequences, thus allowing the viewers to somewhat compose the final piece of music they hear. These sculptures can almost be played like a musical instrument. In the end I created wall sculptures that engage the viewer as something more than just audience. They are now a participant…or perhaps…a co-conspirator.

My installations and sculptures explore the familiar with tweaks to one’s perception. They are a coalescence of objects, mediums, and thoughts. Airplane parts scattered in a scrap yard look like vertebrae to me. These fragments get wired and fused together to become the spine of a machine age, yet pre-historic looking creature, familiar and foreign at the same time. Suspended like an exhibit in an Un-Natural History Museum, tendrils of steel dangle from this once shattered spine, like seaweed billowing in the ocean. The movement of air or a hand brushing over the tendrils causes them to delicately chime. Rooted by grappling hooks, this creature can no more fly away than could the airplane it once was. My paintings and drawings have a surreal bend to them. While some find the images disturbing, others find the serenity that is present in all of them.

With all of my work, what at first appears foreboding, upon closer inspection reveals a whimsical or humorous twist. Absurdity is highlighted even when hidden. Much of my work is three dimensional. I have time-space synesthesia. This causes me to experience time as a spatial construct. The way that I visualize time and space is reflected in my work. Similarly to how I visualize and step into days of the week or the months of the year, my artwork has the quality of being able to be stepped into or become a part of.


-Kira Vollman

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