I am interested in how culturally agreed upon definitions of beauty are used as tools throughout western narratives to justify the otherwise indefensible. In stories spanning from Judeo-Christian texts, to Appalachian folk songs, to children's fairytales, protagonists and villains alike are punished in ways that are so devastating one cannot help but question the moral authority of the author. My sculptural and time-based vignettes illustrate cracks in the spellbound beauty of fantasy worlds as cultural assertions of control are presented as moral truths. They grind suggested narratives to a near halt, transforming them into truncated portraits of dysfunction.
By bringing the strange and improbable to life I try to shed light on hidden motivations, and by extension, the often dismal nature of our grand aspirations. Brutality, exploitation, and loss of control are key themes in my work, and they operate within meticulously constructed worlds of cinematic pomp. The use of set design and traditional cinematic special effects are intended to satisfy the viewers appetite for spectacle, while materials imbued with a look of bodily distress add an element of doubt to my implied narratives and their flamboyant presentation.
The conflicting states that I play with in my work are intended to trap viewers within a polarity of cuteness. As Simon May put it in his book, The Power of Cute, cuteness relates to a subject possessing qualities at two ends of a spectrum. For example, if a toy doll's stubby childlike limbs make it appear in need of assistance, but it's orange vest and yellow helmet says, “I’m headed to the construction site!”, neither suggestion is true. The impossible contradiction locks us in a cuteness induced reverie. My work is meant to be beautiful and grotesque; aggressive and vulnerable. It strikes a precarious balance between dream and nightmare, trapping viewers between suggestions of impending calamity and soothing layers of decorative baby fat.