Built in the 1870’s, the house I grew up in was haunted. As young children my sister and I talked to ghosts unconcerned, yet were tormented by them as older, more aware teenagers. Compounding this fear was the absence of religion or faith in our upbringing, leaving me with personal questions and searching. This series is about the possible presence of supernatural entities, both alien and deceased, and conversely the possibility of spiritual, fateful forces discussed in various theologies.
Influenced by the work of many contemporary artists who stage photographs, religious iconography, and even television shows from pop culture like Star Trek and the X-Files, this cinematic work takes place in natural settings, places for contemplation as well as vulnerability. Interested in using alternative materials in my work, the use of plastic rhinestones blurs preconceived boundaries between “high” and “low” art. The repetitive application process is not unlike examples of domestic craft, like embroidery and knitting, and I am reverent of the valuable artistic history evident in these practices.
The image of children playing with toys has become timeless, though predictably lighthearted. We often look to children to regain a sense of virtue, but after examining the work in Presence, the viewer is encouraged to reassess both the whimsy and portension of their own development. These children hold in their hands the innocence and wonder of childhood, kept company by gentle spirits of questionable intention.
The exhibit, Presence, was on display at The Blackberry Farm Gallery at the Clayton Arts Center in Maryville, in September 2013.