These portrait installations of Alabama artists reflect a multitude of interests including grief and mortality, nesting, mending, memory, the physical body, and spirituality. Although I work with emotionally heavy conceptual themes like loss, mortality, and the power and delicate nature of memory, my work is a reflection of my attempt to live my life in fragile exultation. I merge the abstraction of narrative with the physicality of objects. In the portraits of these Alabamians, I’m pinpointing intangible experiences and feelings and creating diorama maps where the sentient, intimate, and vestigial are articulated, placing the viewer in the midst of the portrait’s embodiment. The figurative/vestigial re-telling nature of the portraits stresses the idea of transformation/recovery/appreciation over victimization. There is an intimacy with the subject becoming object, with the reverence for the past life and the confrontation of the doggedly present body. I’m interested in forms and images that accompany the body and in the traces the body leaves: a bed, a nest, a webs, decay and shadows. My work is about exploring where these spaces are suspended for observation and meet at a crossroads between the temporal (fleeting) and concrete (lasting).
Retired and elaborately constructed objects are redeployed and created as agent of memory that can evoke and reflect on the history of private lives – worn and battered, certain found objects evoke empathy. Like a dog without a tail, we notice an object or book’s history and pluck as survivor. Throughout my artistic career, I’ve been wildly influenced by Southern literature, especially Harper Lee and Carson McCullers. I mirror their interest in the subliminal, unremarkable and overlooked within exquisite emotional landscapes. I express the oscillation of hope and despair while exploring the boundaries and intersections within the nature of identity. I want to create works that exude a rich aesthetic space that allows the viewer the luxury of being able to immerse and sustain themselves in cognitive experience. This idea of fragmentation as well as things left marked or scarred is reinforced through patina of found materials, diversity of subjective textures, and disjointed formal structures. I intentionally used different fibers and dyes from Alabama to created the primary structures of the 12 different portraits to literally ground the portraits in our states biodiversity.
- Praxis of using found objects-
- Found object as Disruption/Revolutionary
- Intrusion of Everyday into Refined Temple/Gallery/Museum
- Fragments of Culture and Memory
- Comical aspects of Ready-mades and lonely quality of collected individual objects
- Bridge to cultural systems beyond Art/Portrait of objects and self
- Like a dog without a tail, we notice its history and pluck as survivor
- Redraw worlds with fragments from the world/traveling behind, inside, in front of history
- Invisible energy encapsulated within erosion/decay/aging
- Explosion of horror vacuii and visual detail
- Notice the intimate particularities of each element
- Grouping sharing details/color/texture
- Binding, staining, rubbing, wrapping
- Charm = in physics – sub-atomic forces that hold particles together
- Attaching the artistic idea of mannered melancholy toward portraiture of an individual
The aim of my work has always been to arouse in my audience (as well as myself) an experience of empathy (infinite remembrance) with my subject matter more than sympathy. By making complex associations between objects and textures I hope the capacity of the inanimate and under represented can become articulate and evocative. Thanks so much to the Wiregrass Museum of Art for their support of Alabama, Alabama artists, and my research.