A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there. – Carl Jung
I preferred my villains to be evil and stay that way. - David Sedaris
In my work, I explore themes of extinction, death and transformation. I am fascinated with the natural processes of decay and destruction—particularly when in conflict with human systems. Nature is referenced, not by depicting the virile stag, but by illustrating its inevitable decay. Valuing macabre sensibilities, my work is also seasoned with inspiration derived from the idiosyncrasies and banality of pop culture; the final result may seem uncanny or blackly humored.
Occasionally I appropriate imagery from myth or horror films, particularly the moment of transformation when a human becomes a beast. This transgressive imagery imbues the work with irony and tension, especially when produced from the medium of clay—with its strong historical ties to comfort and beauty. Rooted in traditions of pantheism and superstition, the horror movie depicts a dark side of human nature. Mutated creatures are created in the murky depths of our collective subconscious. These images ride the boundaries between animal and human, instinct and reason, the conscious and the subconscious.
The human (or animal) figure is used as a point of departure, so that I may distort it. For instance, in I’ve Been Known to Ride on Chrome, I deconstruct an image of a domestic cat and a snake to depict the internal duality of beauty and beastly rooted in Jungian psychology. Domestic cats offer furry, lovable companionship and are a common subject of kitsch. Kitty-themed tchotchkes are ubiquitous—they thrive in the form of figurines and cookie jars. Meanwhile, snakes are collectively misunderstood to be merely venomous and loathsome, their imagery effectively utilized in the creepy tattoos that identify Lord Voldemort’s allies (in Rowling’s Harry Potter series). The quotidian belief of the western populace accepts that the cat is cuddlesome while the snake is inherently evil and directly associated with sin. However, when a cat becomes frightened, it transforms into a more beastly animal: fang teeth revealed, ears pulled back, hissing. (This is supposedly the feline’s attempt at mimicry). On the contrary, the vulnerable state of a coiled, sleeping snake may resemble a harmless lap cat. I have chosen these two animals in order to better mock the mythos of popular culture.
Utilizing ‘crafty’ materials – Papier-Mache, marbled paper, yarn and ceramic – new works are inspired by feminine retro-beasts, such as Harpies, Sirens, Medusa and Yetis; these archaic figures are appropriated with imagery found in present-day subcultures. For example, my sculpture Harpy, draws from Black Metal, the subgenre of extreme metal music, and Neoshamanism; Feed Me Diamonds is heavily influenced by present-day female icons (like Lady Gaga, Yolandi, Beyonce and Brooke Candy) and obsolete Mermaid folklore; and the yeti paw, Money To Burn, draws from contemporary nail culture. This postmodern gesture runs parallel with T.S. Eliot’s thoughts on the manipulation of a “continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity.” Furthermore, this brazen use of mixed media simultaneously denies and redefines the notion of craft.