sculptural installation and performance at Vicki Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver, Denver, CO
Inhabiting a dome constructed of embroidery hoops, zip ties, and water-soluble plastic I engaged in performance. From within the structure I used a wet fingertip to melt tiny apertures in the center of each water-soluble plastic membrane. After activating each hoop, I identified those that would reflect my silhoutte if the hoops had been mirrors. Beginning with the hoops that would have been my feet, I enlarged each melted aperature. Once the opening was wide enough, I removed a threaded bobbin from a pocket on my abdomen and launched it through the open hole. The tail of the thread remained anchored to my body by a tiny magnet. I repeated this gesture, launching tethered bobbins through corresponding holes, with each hoop that comprised my standing silhouette. When I completed my task, spools littered the floor outside the sculpture. My make-shift shadow was refracted by chance, rather than light. Delicate red threads emanated from my body, order intact, until they departed the structure. On the gallery floor, they rolled, created tangles, charted new paths, and encountered others who may inadvertantly (or intentionally) alter their paths. I was equal parts marionette and mother, simultanuosly protected and vulnerable.
My garment remained in the sculpture for the duration of the exhibition.
Insects encase themselves for protection, to create a place where metamorphosis can occur. Utilizing their own secretions, they produce raw materials from which they build. For me, the insect is a metaphor for human behavior. Like insects we are defined by the physical inevitability of our cycles of growth and reproduction, as well as our social need for physical labor.
I have explored these parallels by constructing sculptural costumes that encase my body and resemble cocoons, and then further developed these structures through performance. Exploring the concepts of change and transformation I encase myself in a structure that provides both a covering for my body, as well as a site for an activity. My motion is restricted, and I engage in a repeated action that involves the movement of a material from one part of the structure to another. This process alludes to cannibalism, and also imparts ideas of self-sufficiency implicit in such a closed system.
In one work, entitled Loop, I crocheted a cocoon of tubes to envelop my body like a circulatory system. I sucked on one end of the continuous circuit, drawing fluid from the other end of the long tube, anchored in a pouch on my belly. In another, Seep, my dress extended from my body to become a landscape, its perimeter far beyond my reach. I dipped a 12-foot ladle into a trough of water to slowly dissolve the dress from the hem to the bodice.
In these and in all of my works, the elements are constructed through a laborious process of weaving, braiding, or sewing. They are then activated in performance through a similar process of methodical alteration. I share the space intimately with my audience and communicate not only through sight and movement, but also sound and touch. Utilizing temporal materials such as gelatins, fluids, or water-soluble plastics, I speak to the notion of time and change. These are repetitive actions that build and transform a work, like a spider, strand by strand, spinning a web, or a wasp, layer by layer, building a nest.