Black bandanas, bleach, Elmer’s glue
9 ft × 9 ft
Beer boxes, painter’s tape, Elmer’s glue
5 ft × 5 ft
How do you draw a clock? Two hands? Three? Numbers or Roman numerals? How many ticks per minute, per hour? Is it round or square or some other shape? Try it, an exercise if you will. You’ve seen a clock, you know what they look like. You can recall the tick tock tick tock of hands in every classroom you’ve ever been in, every waiting room, every office. You put down a circle, two hands, one short, one long, the numbers one through twelve. Maybe you leave out the tick marks, you don’t need them. Look at your drawing. It all seems right to you, everything in its proper place, neat and orderly. But what if you’re wrong? What if those clean crisp lines you put down don’t match up? What if your numbers are skewed to one side, tumbling out of your misshapen circle? What if you can’t trust your own eyes, your own brain, your perception as off center as the hands on your scrambled clock?
Time has always existed outside of itself for me. These common lessons, second hand minute hand hour hand, they never stuck, slipping out of my grasp when I wanted to read the clock, a long process of walking through each step in the equation over and over every time. I ended up frozen, stagnating in classes, in doctors offices, in waiting rooms, watching seconds tick by with no meaning, never knowing how long I had been waiting, how much longer there was to go. With time being meaningless, just a series of incomprehensible ticks, different hands moving at different speeds, frozen, time an endless stretch before me.
An endless march, seconds and minutes and hours marked by useless ticks, tiny movements on the incomprehensible landscape of a clock face. How does one measure time, measure its passage, without a clock? Without that fundamental childhood skill, the analogue timekeeper on the wall? I adapted, stranded in my timeless space, existence ongoing, unending. A personal language of time with me as the sole speaker. Drawing lines on a page, a hundred or a thousand, how many before class ends? Before the next timeless montage begins? How many bounces of my leg mark each hour, how many taps of my finger, how many breaths? These alternative adaptations became the central thread of my daily life, a series of movements, of insignificant marks and lines, of stacking numbers that tracked the passage of time.
How long has it been?
Breathe in, breathe out
How many ticks and taps?
Time ongoing, never ending, spiraling and twisting with me trapped in the middle, no way out. How much longer will I be here? Pervasive questions, a constant timeless conversation, I look to my work for answers. What do you do when time stretches endlessly before you, no end in sight, an exercise in repetition, the consistency of the uncertain?. Days and weeks and months before and behind, begging to be filled, time to be consumed. My childhood language of time no longer fulfills the all consuming unknown of the future. Tucked away in the safe haven of my home, sunlight obscured, my private langue has had to adapt, had to shift in scale, in intensity. The ticks and taps and breaths can fill minutes or hours but how many breaths are in a month, in six months, a year?
Time passes strangely when you’re drunk. Hours spreading, luxurious, melting like putty under a warm sun or sped up, winding tighter and tighter, coiled, ready to snap. Sometimes hazy, drifting, slow and measured. Other times frantic, manic and flashing, speeding by. There is a power in this warp, this alternative reality where the passage of hours is measured not by a clock but by the intake and output of liquid. Remember perception, remember the clock, was it skewed? Are you sure? Distrust your own mind, your memories might be lies. Learn to track time passing through the physical. Picture the morning after the night before, dry mouth, gritty eyes. Can you remember when you started, when you stopped? Maybe it’s time for a new language, one spoken by you and the boxes on the floor, the bottles on the table. They will serve you now, replace the numbers on the clock, act as a reminder of what has been.
Liquid measurement, intake, output
Alcohol and urine, consumed and expelled
Perception altered, timeless
I’ve looked to the physical, tactile representations of the passage of time. Each bottle, each can, the ephemera of a moment, refuse for delineation, differentiation. How many ounces make up a moment? How long is a six-pack? A twelve pack? A case? It’s never the same, shifting markers day-by-day, week-by-week, time measured in consumption. Five feet by five feet, each square a piece of time, a mark of ingestion. Consumption March 2020, a quilt in all but name, an exercise in meditation, in the passage of time. Beer boxes marked, measured and cut down to exact size, a pattern repeated. It was nothing at first, boxes piled high, markers of joy, those first few weeks, this will all be over soon. Bubbled gatherings, a tiny group learning one another, enjoying the freedom, finally having time. And as that pile grew it changed, a lack of motivation, sinking deeper into a timeless shapeless confusion, when will this end? The stack grew like mold, spilling out into the house, standing taller and taller as time stretched endlessly before us. And when it toppled, when the weight of all those boxes collapsed on to itself, when it became time to flatten them or get flattened, that’s when Consumption March 2020 began in earnest. March to November, an endless cycle of stops and starts, of hoping this wouldn’t be relevant in a week, two weeks, a month.
Even as I struggled, crushed under the weight of those boxes, of that unchangeable external force, I noticed something new. Things have changed. I’m no longer alone in my timeless space, there are others here now. Others who come from a different world, a place of timekeeping where that tick tock tick tock holds meaning, forms and shapes them, provides structure. The weight bears down on us all, different in every case but similar in shape, in form. I am used to timelessness, to the fluctuations and shifts of perception that structure my life. These new residents aren’t, they come from a world in which time is real, a concrete force, a truth that cannot be escaped. And now they are here. Struggling. Adapting to a new reality, one where perception cannot be trusted, where the mind plays tricks.
Canvas drop cloth, house paint, the body
My Father’s Son prints, embroidery floss
4 ft 6 in × 5 ft 6 in
Bed sheet, curtains, fabric paint, embroidery floss, the body
5 ft × 7 ft
Custom hair, Elmer's glue
Comedy, Ethos, and Materiality
Art is funny. Not comedic, not like a good joke, something that has you rolling on the floor clutching your sides. No, it’s absurd, ridiculous. A place for satire, for irreverence. I am a self-acknowledged brat, digging my fingers into the stomach of the art world; torturing and tickling; feeding off of simultaneous laughter and discomfort. Not a bully, not quite, but an older sister, full of loving disregard for the conventions of orthodoxy, of the past, teasing out some growth past the twinges, past the aches and pains of change.
Material physicality, sensation
A childhood of touches catalogued
Sense memories, visceral
Desire for connection ignored
I was a lonely kid, introverted and shy with a younger brother who needed constant parenting and attention. I sat alone, creating worlds, elaborate stories, backgrounds for my stuffed animals, characters who still live in my mind. From the safety of my bed I would build nests filled with my many children, mothering them as best as a ten year old could. I waited, fixated and focused, for someone to notice me, to remember me. And as I grew, I found ways to be noticed, to be seen. I realized I had to push, poke, prod, and pressure. I had to make myself a nuisance, demand recognition and provoke reaction. It was a lesson well learned. A reaction is a reaction, good or bad, it doesn’t matter, all that matters it to be seen somehow, by someone. Irreverence works, stepping out of line, feeling out the boundaries of what is accepted and then pushing past, freefalling, waiting to see who reacts and how. Does it matter if people are uncomfortable? If their skin crawls and the hair on their neck bristles? They are responding, reacting, the only thing that matters.
My quest for recognition led me to performative radicality, responding to perceived slights, sensitive and easily angered. It wasn't until later, past the initial naivety of childhood, that I finally recognized actual dissatisfaction. I was comfortable, able to focus on the mundane, the ordinary annoyances of everyday life, convinced of my own persecution. And then I wasn't. I was angry, suddenly, not senselessly, screaming into the night, but righteously, passionately.
I grew up in dissonance, desperate to belong somewhere and unwilling to accept my normalcy. Convinced, somewhere, deep down, that I was special, meant for more, deserving of acknowledgement. I didn't understand then, that I was utterly and irrevocably normal, average, satisfactory. That my ups and downs, highs and lows, didn’t make me special, didn’t make me different. This normalcy, the sense of total adequacy, of the average, the mundane, became my driving force. Normalcy is my subject, the aesthetic of the mundane embedded in reactiveness. The ordinary, the average - the anathema of the art world.
Materiality matters but quality doesn’t.
Who cares if that edge is ragged, that line straight, that stitch even?
Does the audience notice? Do they remark?
Material appreciation, material disregard
Who really cares what something is made of? Not me. Buy in bulk, find the cheapest source, grab stuff off the street, hoard potential supplies until an idea comes to light, these are my techniques. Art doesn’t need to be about who can fill the biggest space with the rarest, most obscure materials, it can be Elmer’s glue and embroidery floss and painter’s tape. In some sense, these materials are more accessible because a wider range of people know them, not just a vague awareness of what oil paint is, but a visceral memory of peeling glue off your hand in school and pretending you were peeling off your skin, of the scent of bleach on the bathroom floor while you try to get the mildew out, of the cheap itchy quality of your blonde wig the Halloween that you decided to be Britney Spears. These materials have been felt, have been touched and worn and tasted and smelled, and that is what brings a viewer closer, the sense of knowing.
I want my audience to respond, to react authentically, organically. To surpass the gatekeepers of the art world through their sheer and utter averageness. An audience that knows the trials of normalcy and the dissatisfaction, the complete, deeply embedded boredom that accompanies the ordinary.
Rage directed, ferocious
Teeth bared, snarling, howling
Stale beer and sticky floors
Punk remembered, embodied
It feels counterintuitive to identify with punk from inside the institution. Punk has always been inherently antiestablishment, thriving off of the disgust, the disdain, the discomfort of normative society. Punk still exists though it has warped and changed and grown, weaving through politics, economics, aesthetics, through lifestyle. Early punk, a subculture of pushing back, of subversion, has been twisted, shifted and stolen, exploited and adapted. The aesthetics, the history, institutionalized and institutionally co-opted. Alexander McQueen at the Met, CBGB tourist schlock, Joey Ramone Avenue in New York, the very existence of Hot Topic, a subculture of shock adopted by the mainstream.
I adapted and adopted punk strategies for myself, splintering from the socially acceptable version surrounding me and looking back to the bizarre surrealism of the early culture. Reactiveness is the catalyst for punk, for me. An endless drive to seek response, engagement. The aesthetic of the ordinary, that lingering taboo, a specter of the art world. I look to that taboo, that discomfort, building spaces the establishment cannot follow. Taboos are a form of resistance, a confrontation and a barrier. Seeking and searching, looking to lower the barricades of entry with work that explicitly confronts those same barricades.
My punk and the punk of the 70’s are different, but they are rooted in the same things, in the conscious choice to push back against boundaries, against walls, against rules. My work is not aesthetically associated with punk. Instead, it is the conceptual background that spiderwebs throughout the process. It is the drive to push back, to pressure the system until it cracks, fragments, shatters. To make work that is true, that expresses my pure dissatisfaction with the world, with the system, with this institution. To push and push and push, searching for a reaction, any reaction, positive or negative, it doesn’t matter.
Leather clad and dangerous
An audience in shock, fluid on the floor
Waste and excrement, viscera of the mundane
In conversation with the past and future, laughing
Video performance, Elmer’s glue
Manus and Materiality
I couldn’t work, couldn’t think, couldn’t make.
There is no inspiration.
Art comes from work.
From hours sitting on the cold studio floor.
From fingers bloodied by a sewing needle.
From boots crusted with glue, with plaster, with thread.
That is the process, the method, the praxis…
The labor of the practice reveals the meaning, the process reveals the method.
Construction and reconstruction - frantically, delicately, deliberately.
How to make it, a culturally meaningful repertoire of materiality.
Work about work, about labor.
Infestus and the Status Quo
What is my role, our role?
Is art the crux? The point? The reason?
Torn inside, passion and responsibility at war.
Civic duty forgotten.
Social contracts unfulfilled.
Those in need forgotten by those on high.
A coast is a coast, East or West, little walls bracketing a sea of red slashed through the country.
An army of black and blue encountered – cops flooding the streets.
Streams of queer bodies, masked and hidden, protected.
Our battle, ongoing.
Our communal shame laid bare.
Queerness embodied in materials – found, collected, altered.
Transformation and transition.
Cultural history remembered and disfigured.
Destroying and building, an endless cycle, repeating.
Instructions For Reading An Artist Statement
Performer looks at the statement and then (a) reads it silently, or (b) puts on their best poet voice, or (c) emails it to a friend, or (d) on finishing the reading, forgets all about it.
I’m not sorry for the things I do
I am a maker, a creator of objects, a scientist of my own design
Running experiments, material trial and error
Testing testing testing
Constant investigation, exploration
Each mark a moment, temporal and timeless
Twisting twisting twisting
Every wrinkle, every dip and shadow, every hair and pore a memory
My material body, my embodied material
An arm, raising and lowering, up and down, over and over
The grasp of a hand
Reaching reaching reaching
A pen, a needle, another body
The erotic and the absurd, these inhabited machines of ours
Machines meant for production
Smells and fluids and noise, excretion
Dripping dripping dripping
A sack of flesh
Held together with glue and tape and thread
Neat little stitches all in a row
Holding holding holding
This tender body of mine
Sweaty and swollen, bruised
Cut open and built anew, patches on patches
A quilt, intricate and old