The 2016 rise of a racist, xenophobic, sexist, bigoted, extreme-right political climate in the U.S. presidential political cycle profoundly depressed me. Climate change in both its literal and figurative sense was being denied as a hoax. Lies and fake news were accepted as “politics as usual.” It seemed to me that America was smothering all the positive ideals historically it has stood for. Unbearable emotional pain motivated me to explore showing this issue visually as suicide.
The show is a body of work produced to illustrate suicide. The images in the series, “Manner Of,” present common objects used to take one’s life. The muted black and white palate and soft image quality of the print rendered on tissue paper is then further obscured by the encaustic medium. This treatment of the photograph underscores the veiled nature of the option of suicide. The portraits of people with their heads wrapped in plastic illustrate acts of asphyxiation. The cool tonality combined with the highly reflective, almost mirrored surface of the work adds a performative aspect to the piece: a glimpse of the viewer’s image is reflected, offering a space to contemplate suicide.
Five works from the “Asphyxiation” series will be included in the Personal Structures show, curated by the Global Art Affairs Foundation, at the 2017 Venice Biennale, and hosted by the European Cultural Center at the Palazzo Bembo. This work will be on display from May 13 – November 26, 2017 in Venice. For more information, you can download a press kit here.