An assemblage of objects fabricated by the artist arranged on a pedestal covered in marble-patterned vinyl foil. Materials include faux... Read More
An assemblage of objects fabricated by the artist arranged on a pedestal covered in marble-patterned vinyl foil. Materials include faux fur, depilatory wax, cosmetics (nail polish, eye shadow and blush), plastic pearls and rhinestones, up-cycled acrylic sheet, ceramic, glass and animal bone.
Barbie and dizzy bombshell aesthetics paired with Polly Pocket and rhinestone-bedazzle-kit color palettes are recontextualized by their proximity to a real animal bone. Tenderness and intensity mingle delicately together in the folds of a dusty pink furry cushion. A roughly textured plate of acrylic, encrusted with pearlescent wax beads, forms a barrier or a window through which the pink fur is distorted. A pile of dried-blood red powder sits on top of the acrylic surface. That same powder can be found sprinkled over the fibers of the cushion. Is it a stain or an adornment? Is this arrangement some preparation for a ritual?
This work very directly references the tradition of the memento mori and its use in the art of the middle ages and early renaissance in western Europe. During that period bones and particularly skulls were depicted as symbols of mortality and the certainty of death. Although from a contemporary viewpoint this practice may seem macabre, I have always felt it was situated in a more nuanced place. Far from gruesome, these skeletal remains were very often rendered quite beautify and decoratively. Another aesthetic phenomenon called to mind by this assemblage are the Parisian catacombs that were constructed in the late 18th century by relocating the bones of thousands of citizens and elaborately arranging them in symmetrical, ritualistic designs and patterns throughout the underground tunnels of the city. Unlike traditional Christian funerary practices, where the body is encased by polite objects that negate any visual connection to the process of death or dying (tomb stones, urns, caskets), this pagan-like treatment of human remains openly showcases the lifeless, desiccated body parts in full view to those who venture down to see them.
The aspects that inspired me most from these two treatments of bones is the reverence and care that was shown them. In “intentional and assured mortality” the vertebrae used went through many stages of refinement, from sanding to filling to many layers of polish and ultimately to being covered in dollops of ornamental wax. In its final iteration is was woven through with a long, cream-colored ribbon. The inclusion of the animal bone and the, fake, fur are not just acts of reverence and respect for this necessary natural cycle- death- but also a way of revealing our essential animal sources, our pulsing biological rhythms- something that in our increasingly packaged and processed environments becomes less and less visible.