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 happening, one must address power structures. I believe in locating oneself to abusive power, and work, in the capacity/resources one has, to dissent. Artists I admire interpret and re-present dissent as attractive, accessible, awesome–something I have a stake in. Within my practice, as a person who is working class, white, and who has a long entanglement with the construct of woman, my work has been about giving form to the process of unpacking my identities as they mediate a lived experience alongside the accountability of their sociopolitical significations. In doing so I seek to make the journey of abolishing, as the artist Tourmaline said, “the cop inside your head and in your heart” attractive for others too. To make art, I learn from a strange multispecies ecosystem inside my art studio. As a result, post-anthropocentric concerns assimilate into my methodology, rather than center as my work’s subject. 

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

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