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Site: The Pacific Ocean
Materials: Mangrove tree, coconuts, branches, ocean, 4'x4'x5'

Created in the Fiji Islands, this is a series of floating human-made islands that will help in the dispersion of the Mangrove trees. The islands were set free into the Pacific Ocean as coconuts and other seedpods are released in the ocean in search of new life. Mangrove trees being one of the few trees that grow in saltwater are a rich biological component that provides oxygen for the planet. Dispersion is an attempt to create new viable ecosystems to make up for those that are damaged by human endeavors.






straw bale house sculpture

ORIGIN, 1997
Site: Steinberg Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
Materials: Straw bales, Blue Grass, air, mechanics and metal sphere 10'x 22'

This piece uses straw bale construction in making a dynamic shape that intersects the glass wall of the gallery. To enter the straw bale structure one had to walk outside the gallery and to the back of the building. I challenged people to question the role of the gallery and how we place art in it. The interior floor of the structure was covered in bluegrass. Inside the straw bale structure forced air held a single metal sphere above a grass mound.


                                                                                                                  straw bale house





KNOBS, 1996
Site: The Lewis Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Materials: Grass, air, mechanics, metal spheres, and black felt

The setting of this work is very critical, which is in a central interior room of a massive building; this would be the last place one would expect grass to be growing. Five metallic spheres are floating in mid-air using Bernoulli's Principle on Aerodynamics. Blue grass (which relates to my childhood home in Kentucky) covers the entire floor of the room. The walls are dark to create a sense of infinite space, and the grass mounds relate to the Knobs that are found in the Ohio River Valley. When one walked into this room a strong sense of smell, touch, sound, and sight were realized.





                      cycling            cycling in motion blur            cycling detail


Site: Quiet Storm Lounge, Friendship, Pennsylvania
Materials: Wheat grass, digital enhanced photographs, mechanics

This work was part of the International Sculpture Conference held in Pittsburgh, June (2001). This dynamic installation allowed viewers to enter and experience a rotating mass of living plants. Using centrifugal force to create artificial gravity, plant species grew in a non-horizontal direction with the use of a rotating capsule. This work was directed at issues of suburban sprawl, space exploration and ecology, but intertwining these issues with a humanistic web by using personal history. The capsule was surrounded by images of every structure the artist has lived in since his birth.




PORTAL, 2002
Site: Purnell Center and The Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Materials: Wheat straw bales, wheat grass, and southern star field 15' x 15' x 30'

Portal is an installation that provides an alternate path where ecology and indigenous civilizations are considered. By trans-locating participants with sounds, smells, textures and light the work provides an escape but also confronts them with new views and unusual phenomenon. Portal was made from organic materials locally grown to create a structure and dwelling that was in tune with the ecological world. The organic structure was built outside to invite people in, to provide a sense of dwelling and protection, yet it continued on the second floor to engage the formal gallery setting. I metaphysically inverted the earth by growing living vibrant grass upside down. It challenged the notion of place, of up or down, by defying gravity and inverting what we know as ground. On the second floor, inside the gallery, the sculpture continued. When participants' entered the straw bale structure and their eyes adjusted to the darkness they could see the stars, galaxies and vastness of the universe. I created a view, a portal through the earth out the other side so that viewers could see into the universe in which we exist, reinforcing the notion that we live on a sphere. These portals together created a nexus of inversion, one could look up and see the ground, and one could look down and see the sky.






ORACLE, 2006
Materials: Video projection

The Oracle is a mysterious blue flame that undulates in space, predicting the future. In ancient times, Greeks and many other cultures participated in ritual practices in the hopes of predicting the future. This piece plays on both the historical aspects of the Oracle of Delphi (the pneuma that helped put the Oracle in an altered state to foretell the future) and contemporary societies dilemma of climate change.




Materials: Video projections, fabricated shelters and clothing

Why and how did the human species adapt to extreme climates through the use of technology? McCombs draws on theories of deep-ecology and evolution as he explores the fundamentals of survival, adaptation and shelter. The artist engages viewers in his process by building his installation through a series of performances, when he builds structures such as igloos, bark huts and a space colony in different environments simulated with video projections.






ALPHA, 2006
Materials: Oil paint on canvas, gold leaf and mechanical sculpture 6' x 8' paintings

This triptych consists of two oil paintings and a kinetic sculpture that is activated by viewers. The iconography suggests biological and cosmological forms, more specifically beneficial bacteria that our bodies live in a symbiotic relationship with. The oversized nature of the work creates a dialogue between the human scale and the microscopic bacteria that live within it. McCombs is exploring the foundation of evolutionary development and our inextricable links to this process.






Materials: epiphytic plants, copper, plastic, robotic control units, water 5' x 6' x 8'

This biomorphic creation expresses the fundamentals of engineering and cross hybridization. It adapts to various environments to meet human demands for water, oxygen and food. As humans approach the piece the mouth area releases water vapor and fins on the back open and close to regulate the intake of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen.





INGEST, 2011
Single Channel Video and Photographic Stills
Ingest is a project that explores dissolution. As various substances dissolve they become a metaphor for human perception and understanding. {The anthropologist John Beattie tells us it is an “epistemological commonplace” that people see what they expect to see, and that the categories of their perception are largely if not wholly determined by their social and cultural background. So members of different cultures may see the world they live in very differently. And it is not just a matter of reaching different conclusions about the world from the same evidence; the very evidence which is given to them as members of different cultures may be different (1966).}