I explore the conceptual fluidity and interconnectedness of ideas—how ideas are generated, dispersed, referenced or forgotten, and I do this by using paper to construct installations and sculptures. An underlying tension in my work is that the discipline and practice of librarianship, from which I draw upon, is often romantically imagined to be aligned with print while contemporary practice is driven by patron desire for digital access. I transform books–recognizable symbols of recorded and shared information–and their pages into new forms, using the iconic materials to consider the recursive nature of ideas, regardless of how they were recorded (e.g., in manuscripts, books, digital formats). Because I look at gain and loss, remembrance and lapses, permanence and impermanence, images of trees, plants and other organisms that have visible regeneration cycles, as well as the materials derived from them, are interpreted in my art.
I seek to make works that are experiential, whether they are walk-through installations or intricate sculptures. The rapid exchange and permutation of ideas that has taken place during my relatively short career as a librarian has lead me to create contemplative environments that give viewers a reprieve from modern distractions and introduce them to forms (real and imagined) that combine the intellectual world with the natural world. As I cut, rip, realign and glue, I reflect on each new generations’ collective erasure of some element of the past and the casting of new ideas into the future. My work is as ephemeral and fleeting as ideas committed to paper or the digital sphere.
-Holly A. Senn