With the sculptures in this series, I began collecting blown-out tires from the sides of the interstate highways and creating human-scale dead crows, as I found the morphology of the material very animal-like (coming from the numerous times I confused a dead tire with road kill from a distance). These “expired” tire scraps reinforce the deathly prostration of these birds while also evoking the faltering automobile industry. As many families attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives after layoffs and plant closures, the roadside debris that I collect suggests a bygone era of prosperity and livelihood in Michigan, Ontario and elsewhere in the Midwest. The environmental impact of the automobile industry is manifest in each sculpture, conveying the uncomfortable rub between industrial progress and environmental degradation, while the human scale of these prone sculptures is a reminder of our own mortality and vulnerability. Crows are scavengers by nature, and so am I.

Using tire scraps and an automobile headlamp, Autogenesis contemporizes the Haida and Tsimshian myth of the raven stealing the sun. Most traditional Native American and First Nations myths recognize the intelligence of these creatures by ascribing complex attributes to crows and ravens. These myths often include a corvid’s ability to shape-shift, wherein the bird will take on human qualities in order to achieve a goal or procure some desired object (which is typically shiny or luminous). The title alludes to both the process of autogeny (organic organisms developing from inorganic matter) and this raven’s genesis from automobile tires, while the form is suggestive of both a prize trophy head and a portal through which this raven is seemingly unable to pass.