Christine H. Sandoval is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work has been exhibited at a variety of venues in NYC and beyond — most recently at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. I had a chance to meet Christine in DUMBO to see her latest installation work just as she was wrapping up a two-week intensive residency at Triangle Arts Association. Sandoval’s approach to art-making draws from “field work” which involves exploring locations where industry and nature converge. The Hudson River waterfronts of NYC and derelict industrial sites across the country are all of interest to Sandoval. Her blend is part artist and part anthropologist with a dash of near-criminal. After all, to gain access to some of the key locations, she needs to ignore all warning signs and, in at least once instance, distant gun shots. We should be thankful for those risks that Sandoval has taken. The resulting sculptural installations are beautiful structures that range from Mad Max-like miniature cities built from salvaged materials to larger-scale, outdoor, architectural structures incorporating photographs. Rest of the interview and pictures after the jump. — Nickolas Roudane
After our meeting in DUMBO, Christine invited me over to talk at length about her practice. We were going to meet in her studio — a seemingly fitting place to talk about art with an artist — but plans merged and I found myself heading towards her Brooklyn home for dinner with friends. The shift from studio to home was appropriate in many ways. Christine’s practice has never been anchored in one place production-wise, and the more I looked into her work and approach the more I came to realize that the boundary between her inspiration and her studio was indeed blurry.
We sat down at her kitchen table — strewn with hearty root vegetables, leafy greens and warm tea. I wanted to understand what drew her to the various sites she has explored in her work. “In your work we see landscapes, mining communities, waterfronts, and underwater worlds all realized via sculpture made, in part, with found materials. What is it that draws you to these places and materials?” I asked. She answered, “The thread that connects these sites, whether I am working with landscape or architecture, is that they have all gone through a kind of degradation, some kind of failure.” It’s evident that Sandoval is interested in what happens after the chaos and after the collapse of the grand vision.
Sandoval grew up in Silicon Valley “a place where nothing is old and the landscape changes every five months”. She realized early on that she wasn’t connected in a meaningful way to a larger history, nature, or anything beyond her immediate surroundings and contemporary culture. This pushed her outwards — towards nature, history and the landscape of the Southwest and beyond. As most of us know, the American landscape holds traces of our recent past in the form of ruined industrial projects. We see abandoned railroad tracks, vacant mining towns and gutted factories on the outskirts of almost every major city.
Sandoval turned her attention to these places and the artifacts left behind for artistic inspiration. She traces the experience of exploring a mysterious place and gathering objects from the area. It is partially this mapping-out and the investigation itself which provide content for her work. Sandoval works across a wide range of media — including video and photography — to capture the essences of the sites she’s drawn to. When I asked her what she wants the viewer to take away from her work she responded “I would like the viewer to feel the desire to explore my installations with the type of child-like curiosity I experience when I encounter an interesting site or a random artifact. I play with scale and variation of minute details within my work in response to that sense of being curious.” To see more of Christine H Sandoval’s work visit her website at http://chsandoval.com/