My work as a sculptor focuses on the interface between the built and the natural environment. It often involves the concept of a biotope, which is a small environment where human and non-human populations overlap. It may also concern the idea of “trans-species giving,” which asserts that the commonalities between life forms are such that we may actually be able to give other organisms a “hand up,” notwithstanding our own cultural or species-specific assumptions about the natural world. In this vein, I build listening stations for birds that play human music, culture lichen on the sides of skyscrapers in New York City, and design alternative forms of housing for land hermit crabs.
In collaboration with the engineer Dr. Qingze Zou, the biologist Dr. Simeon Kitchoni, and the computer scientist Dr. Ahmed Elgammal, I am currently creating the IndaPlant Project: An Act of Trans-Species Giving. This project entails building light-sensing robotic supports for houseplants that enable them to roam freely in a domestic environment in search of sunlight and water. https://vimeo.com/90457796.
Writing about my art, Richard Klein, Exhibition Director at the Aldrich Museum, states: “Demaray provokes complex questions concerning memory, knowledge, and the collaborative cognitive process that exists between artist and viewer … while making a body of work that has consistently confounded expectations by creating connections between diverse and often contradictory bodies of knowledge.”
I am the recipient of the National Studio Award from the New York Museum of Modern Art/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture, and was the featured artist at the 2014 Association of Environmental Science Studies symposium, Welcome to the Anthropocene. I live and work in Brooklyn, NY and am an associate professor of fine arts and head of the sculpture concentration at Rutgers University, Camden. On the Rutgers, New Brunswick, campus, I am a work group advisor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and an advisor at The Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Rutgers University, in the Department of Computer Science, which is dedicated to supporting artistic practice in the fields of computer vision and machine learning.