I am continually drawn to the many contradictory associations we have with insects, and the way in which those tensions can complicate our understanding of ourselves, and our place in the natural world. As pests and interlopers in our homes, insects elicit an uncomfortable feeling of loosing control of our bodies and surroundings. From a distance, their chaotic nature feels menacing and contrary to the order of human society. A closer analysis reveals a more complex balance between chaos and organization.
Whistling Thorn, 2013-14
Emerging from the ceiling is a wallpaper installation entitled, “Whistling Thorn.” The piece plays off the ambiguous sense of time in the prints, positioning nature encroaching into the gallery space. At the same time, the piece suggests the possibility of a more sustainable symbiosis than what is depicted in the prints. The spiky pods that grow on the brambles are inspired by the whistling thorn acacia tree, which grows pods for the sole purpose of feeding ants which live on the tree. In turn, the ants protect the tree from elephants and other animals that would otherwise cause its destruction.
Installation Views: Ruination at Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA (Images 2-3) and Precarious Balance, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (Images 4-5).
From a distance, the wallpaper installation Decomposition/Recompositon appears to be a conventional design. A viewer might notice stains, or other signs of deterioration, but as she gets closer, she might notice that the pattern itself seems to be deteriorated or composed of stains. As more of the wall is explored, the viewer discovers trails, chains, and towers of weaver ants that have colonized the design, taking apart the pattern and building their nests from its parts.
Installation views: Listening In Philadelphia Artists Speak, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA (Image 2) and Notched Bodies, Arsenal Gallery, New York, NY (Image 3).
Weaver Colony, 2010
Archival Pigment prints on Washi Paper, 1" x variable
In Weaver Colony (2010), lacy chains of clambering Weaver ants move across the walls and around posts, colonizing corners of the gallery.
Installation Views: Insectology, Silber Gallery, Goucher College, Baltimore, MD.
RAID I & II, 2009
Silkscreen on wall (I) and wallpaper (II)
This piece, created for a solo exhibition at Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, is a design based exploration of the themes of order and disorder in nature. The piece builds on my interest in creating wallpapers and patterns that depict both design and disorder, and also served as a visual and conceptual bridge between the two series of prints in the exhibition.
I have long been fascinated by the 19th century short story The Yellow Wallpaper, in which a woman's descent into madness is chronicled through her experience watching the wallpaper come alive, and continue to return to the themes from that story in my work. For this piece, I was also influenced by the honeycomb pattern made by wasps and bees, and by similar shapes found in the raid formations of army ants. Here, larger than life ants raid the gallery walls, coming together to from patterns, chaotic jumbles, and columns.
Installation views: (Dis)order at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE (Images 1-3) and Emergence, Bahdeebahdu, Philadelphia, PA (Images 4-5).