embody many of the contradictions that interest me in our relationship
to the concept of private property. In studying and photographing actual
fences I came to appreciate what an elegant vernacular solution the
picket fence was to the need to demarcate property.
The picket fence literally stakes our claim – not just to a piece
of land, but to our homes. In drawing this line around us, it provides
a definition of who we are and who our neighbors are. The picket fence
evolved from earlier methods of defensive fortification, but today it’s
protective function is largely symbolic. What once was a means of protection
now serves as a statement of a certain group of nostalgic ideas about
bucolic, happy small-town American life.
In Bastion, the notion of fortification is taken to an extreme. Instead
of a simple decoration around the edge of a property, each picket has
been extended the depth of a building lot, completely surrounding the
home within. The fence keeps all intruders and visitors out, but also
keeps occupants in.
Periphery also suggests a sense of claustrophobia, possessiveness and
paranoia. The work is meant to be seen from inside the fence, which
can be entered. From within, the 16-foot by 20-inch space, the viewer
can do nothing more than pace from one end to the other, like a sentry
on duty – ever vigilant of what is just beyond the edge of the