The space is a photo studio and gallery in a historic building in Salt Lake City. The interior is painted white. I am seated, dressed in white and surrounded by a Vietnam War era silk parachute into which I am embroidering fingerprints of passersby with white cotton thread. At my feet is a sea of small square white bits of paper and an ink pad for collecting the prints of anyone who chooses to participate.
‘Touch’ has been a work in progress for three years and during each incarnation of the performance, I am moved by the opportunity I have to create connection between myself and the individuals who choose to participate. What the piece may mean in a literal sense is not as important to me as the many shifting possibilities of what it may mean to an individual. The fingerprint itself draws up for me fleeting impressions of the past on a window, a mirror, a teacup; daily overlooked remembrances of existence. One small often-insignificant mark that can mean the world in different circumstances. A great equalizer. A record of what is.
Gods Heroes Monsters (Performance)
May 17, 2014
Ash, gold leaf, wax, india ink, charcoal. Four little paintings about the things we lay to rest in order to move forward.
Beeswax, rice paper, porcelain on wood. A little series about the things we collect. The button that pulled off his shirt sleeve. Baby teeth tucked into a jewelry box. Rain on the shingles of your childhood home.
Available for Sale
The last three years for me have involved quite a lot of personal loss. In the midst of that loss, I was caught by a news story in May of last year about the mass death of 60,000 critically endangered Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan. The image accompanying the story was one of a field littered with dead antelope, mothers and babies and males, stretching on into the horizon. All had died within the span of two days. To this day, scientists aren't certain why.
The work, entitled Amor Fati, is composed of six antelope skulls cast in wax progressively 'melting' into the wall ending with just the tip of the horns and a ‘final breath’ in gold. The name itself, meaning “the love of fate” comes from the writings of Nietzsche who said, “I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”
The work is a deeply personal meditation on my own experience of loss. It’s an attempt to connect to the universal experience of death and grief. It’s a move to understand the larger upheaval encompassed in the current privation of the planet in which I find myself. It’s a reaching to understand the most skillful way to hold space for the things I cannot control. What can be done? What should I do? Is acceptance and turning away the only path to happiness? Should I fight? Should I try to understand? When all that is left to do is stand by and watch the worst come to pass, should I simply accept my fate and try to find meaning in the loss? What is the answer to suffering?
Amor Fati. Sculpture in beeswax. Rio Gallery 201