About the artist.
I am an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, sculpture and performance. Most recently, I have become preoccupied with the potential of objects to act as a site for human projection. Objects that can be a channel for something just out of reach to the conscious mind. I believe an object can be a conduit: a family heirloom can channel the once-familiar comfort of a lost loved one; a mattress consumes our sleep, our sex, and we take renewed energy back. Is it possible to create an object that helps exorcise our individual and collective “demons”? Can emotional labor be the function of a thing? I have come to consider my paintings and sculptures as doing just that with quasi-functional capacities: some are keepers of secrets; some give protection from emotional harm. All have a quality of ritual animism that is both whimsical and totemic.
Material exploration and free association are fundamental aspects of my practice. I search for inspiration from a range of sources for each component's aesthetic qualities as well as social implications. This lends an idiosyncratic nature to my use of materials. It is important to my philosophy that everything I use is fundamentally cheap, accessible, and pedestrian. The sculptures are constructed in sections so that they may be easily dismantled or recalibrated in the future, giving them the potential to evolve and transform. This removes the preciousness typically associated with fine art-making and allows me continuous room for risk and discovery. The objects stay in my studio until they attain what I consider a symbolic quality – forms that retain visual association with real objects, plants, animals or symbols, but hybridize and convolute any literal definition. The resulting works are enigmatic, obscure, and dwelling in the realm of irrational possibility.
Who or what are your artistic inﬂuences and how have they impacted you or your work?
I am an avid reader with special interest in intersectional feminism, alternative histories and speculative fiction. I would say that my indulgence in literature provides me with renewable intellectual fodder, it feeds my curiosity and keeps me engaged in learning and fantasy. When I hit age 25 I realized I had read quite a bit from the white male perspective, I tend to seek out writing by women, queer and trans folk, and people of color.
Some recent influential and highly recommended books:
Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women’s History of the World - Rosalind Miles
People’s History of the United States - Howard Zinn
Beloved - Toni Morrison
The Found and The Lost: Collected Novellas - Ursula Le Guin
Parable of the Sower & Parable of the Talents - Octavia Butler
Freedom is a Constant Struggle - Angela Davis
Within the art historical perspective, I owe a lot to the DADA movement, Surrealism, Feminist art, Arte Povera and Fluxus. I’m obsessed with painters who work within performance (Carolee Schneeman is my shero). And there are too many contemporary artists I love to list.
Do you have any “rituals” that you have to do before, after, or during your art making to keep you creating or put you in the mood to create work?
I think about this poem “In the Desert” frequently. It is by Stephen Crane, a prolific writer who passed at age 28 in 1900. I feel like it’s the perfect metaphor for turning inward and trusting what you find, even if its ugly.
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”