My most recent body of work presents narratives of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Videos in the form of direct-to-camera monologues will detail individuals’ struggles with substance use and their efforts to become and remain sober. An installation of monitors arranged to face each other suggest the shared process of the recovery community.
This work results from a realization that my efforts to balance my own recovery with the demands of a rigorous creative practice needn’t be seen as mutually exclusive; that in fact these two priorities would benefit from knowledge of each other. In making this work, I want to expose the audience both to a community that they may not regularly encounter, as well as to personalize the conversation about the national epidemic of addiction.
Two key points are inherent in the work: First is a concept I have arrived at through my own recovery, that of identifying rather than comparing. When comparing our stories with others’, we often focus on differences between the two instead of identifying shared experiences to form a sense of community. By projecting a range of differing subjects in the videos, I hope to communicate the value of identifying with people who are not in recovery.
The second emphasis visualizes the humanization of a stigmatized section of society. Facing each other on pedestals, the stories will elucidate ways in which struggle can create beauty out of things that can otherwise be taken for granted.
This thesis installation is an attempt to immerse the viewer in a world forgotten, willfully overlooked, or discussed with fear and derision. In short, I hope to lift the curtain of what it means to be in recovery.
Through language, people are able to communicate, share stories, narrate histories, and construct meaning and an understanding of the world. The building blocks of language are words, and within my work I am attempting to render these word forms into tangible material, to be used as both linguistic and physical structure within the development of form. I am using words and global languages to show cross-cultural connections through a shared need to communicate, while highlighting the distances that remain between different languages and cultures.
In this series, I am thinking about the kinds of things that people say in a casual, domestic setting. These phrases become the plaster words that are used to construct physical objects such as a wall and table. This work is a kind of material diary, literally transcribing some of the text of my own utterances in private. The table piece is comprised of sets of rules for dining etiquette. Table manners from specific cultures are spelled out in the script of each culture’s language, each overlaid with others to develop the structure of the table’s form.
Both of these works use layers of written language to describe the form of familiar structures. The materiality of these words allows for a kind of physical description of the objects they create, while their layered, overlapping configuration obscures the legibility of the specific phrases. I’m interested in creating an experience wherein an object can be seen both in terms of its overall form and as the result of a process of description that uses the structure of language. Are words that are shared in private settings really kept private? Or were they never private to begin with? Once something is said, you can no longer dictate the consequence of your words.
Where Richard Prince once said, “I brung the sheriff, and I shot him,” Sherrie Levine instead echoes Valerie Solanas’ “I shot Andy Warhol.” Sherrie Levine, the ever famous copycat artist, turns idols of high modernism into obviously false copies that coax you to love something old in new ways. I never understood Sherrie Levine’s perversion of ‘icons’ until her rendition of Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even peaked my fascination. Intrigued by Levine’s dissection of a Duchampian Bachelor Machine, I myself became fixated with the exploration of the cyclical networks of desire, the threat it gives, reproduction, and the resulting miracle of life that in turn ends in death. As an artist I am interested in forming cyclical relationships within chaotic and simplified networks that lay bare the veins of sexuality, desire, and our animalistic drive to reproduce. Whereas Levine sought to ‘shoot’ Andy Warhol, I myself would be waiting to scan through the crime scene notes and sit in on the autopsy. I am not just interested in behavioral phenomenon, but have a compulsion to understand both the functional and defunct networks within. I am drawn to the networks of social, sexual and behavioral development that control our desires, sexuality, labor relationships and social development. We are all part of a greater biological network and our understanding of these complex networks create shifts in cultural phenomena. My hope is to map out the catalyst of this phenomena...or at least take a mere stab at the opportunity to do so.