I was raised in a family with a number of mental health issues. Therefore, I question relationships of the self, the body, and the other. My practice is split between intimate 2D work and participatory actions.
In my studio I draw daily on long scrolls. It is a place for concentrated self-reflection. One day, unable to process my thoughts in a verbal or visual way, I began to scribble. Abstract, inner feelings became distinct black lines. I worked with my right hand until it tired, then switched to my left. After several pens ran out, and the thoughts dissolved, a space was left at the bottom of the tangled lines. Here I drew a small self-portrait from memory; a face to anchor the mass of energetic marks. This was the start of the Hair Brain series, 2015. These drawings from the unconscious were a way for me to look at the relationship of my inner self to my outer reality.
In the performative sculptures, will you spoon with me?, 2008, Back and Forth, 2011, and Lollygagging, 2012, I look to relationships outside of myself. Back and Forth was shown in North Carolina during a time when marriage equality was opposed by 61% of the population. My first notion of marriage was formed on the grade school playground. When swinging in sync with friends we said we were “married”. When out of sync we were “divorced”. With this notion in mind, I installed two swings in the center of the gallery, bound together by a single chain. Gallery goers were invited to choose their partner, the duration, and the way they’d make this set-up function. Through non-verbal, physical and direct communication, partners of all combinations attempted to work in unison.
There is a distinct inner voice in my private drawing practice that is very different from the public actions of these participatory sculptures. I combined the two in my most recent performance, in/visible, June 2015; I became the Shadow. Carl Jung described the Shadow as the shameful part of the self we wish to deny, the unconscious. For this one-night performance I dressed in all black and attached myself to the back of Maggie Hudson, a close friend. She attempted to interact with the crowd as if I weren’t there. However, the entire night I was talking in her ear. It was a continuous monologue of concerns, judgments, and comments from the deepest, uncensored part of myself. It was the first time the relationships of the inner self, the outer body and the separate other have been integrated into my work in a single piece.
The psychological aspects of the work are a result of self-investigation, philosophical research, and constant drawing. The personal aspects come from a belief that honesty will create meaningful art. Through these practices, I seek to understand what it means to be human.