photo: Tony Favarula

"after the library: embodying pandemonium somehow on a vulnerable and wounded earth" | 2018-23 | mixed media sculpture series

Pandemonium is noisy disorder—chaos.
It is the wild uproar of a people.
Pandæmonium is the capital of Hell.
It’s the name for a flock of parrots.

photo: Tony Favarula

One way to write what this most recent series became is that it is a multi-year sculptural exploration of identity. It sought to chart one path out of the space and ontological dilemmas posed by Mark Dion’s “Library for the Birds” works. My scrutiny involved pulling from methodologies of post-minimalist, feminist, and cottagecore aesthetics. It seeks to combine them with material languages I have learned from certain critters co-occupying my art studio: mainly a flock of four, uncaged parakeets and some occasional mice (who are attracted by the messiness of our flock). The overarching aim was to create a series of sculptures reconsidering the medium, as well as my connections to the private and interpersonal structures of (working class) White Womanhood. Critters-inspired visual devices have helped navigate these reconsiderations materially and conceptually. While working through this series early on, two such devices commonly repeated: chewing and caging. So a direct way to frame what has motivated these works is: in each piece I seek to mash some kind of caging with some kind of chewing, and in so doing, hold or handle something/substances of myself.

For this time we are in, to be acting with an awareness before/within brutality, one must address power structures. I believe in struggling to understand one’s location in relation to subjugating power, and work, in the capacity/resources one has, to dissent. Ultimately, I seek to make the journey of abolishing, as the artist Tourmaline said, “the cop inside your head and in your heart” continually attractive for myself, as well as others.  In my practice, my primary passion of human-nonhuman entanglement is a vehicle for unpacking the intersections of my own histories, identities and corporeal significations. I learn about myself, and undo myself, through engagement with a strange multispecies ecosystem inside my art studio–predominantly, a flock of four uncaged budgerigars named Toby, Mantis, Louie and Caesar. Post-anthropocentric concerns are the means by which I attempt to make addressing white supremacy culture an embodied experience. 

Thesis exhibition at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, July 2023. 

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