Material culture is a catalyst for interaction and communication among human beings. Body Adornment is at its root a universal language - a basic utilitarian need as well as a vehicle for social and cultural expression. Though primarily a form of visual communication, it is an art form that we engage with at a high level of intimacy - physically, emotionally, and psychologically… and primarily subconsciously. Though it is a language spoken many different ways and for many different purposes, it is understood through symbols and tactility, binding us together while simultaneously setting us apart. I strive to make work that connects us both literally and metaphorically, teaching us that familiarity and normativity is subjective. My work seeks to expand this subjectivity in my audience through examining objecthood as it pertains to aesthetics versus function.
I am currently investigating the use of clothing and costume as a way to interpret, access and understand the natural world, the spiritual world, and the mystical. Clothing, especially ceremonial costuming, represents powerful forces and shifts aligning with the natural world, the body, and the psyche. In past works I have visited various sites performing in costume in these spaces or retrospectively creating costumes in homage to the beauty, scope, energy, and power of these special spaces. I am examining costuming practices as they relate to the environment and the relationship, language, and symbols that are contained in the materials and expression of body adornment. The work that has manifested from this research stems from an ongoing series of costumes that have been in progress for the past 4 years. These costumes are intended for use in video, photographic, and performative production in association with the exhibition of formal sculptural works derived from the costumes themselves, which deconstruct to basic geometric elements and exist as decorative relics of the ritual. The transformation of these garments from functional wearable objects to isolated parts as art objects is a reflection of the transformative power of costume and symbolic action performed within ceremonial costuming, as well as serving as talismans and power objects. The impulse to fabricate these garments is rooted in theories of Psychomagic, Carnivale, and traditional Shamanic practices in that they are vehicles that facilitate ascension to various planes of consciousness. They allow for full expression and shepherd transformation through access to a meditative space. These costumes exist as “skins” intended to accentuate our relationships with ourselves as the beast - a way to express the beast and a way to control the beast. These costumes refer to the underpinning concepts inherent to Mikhail Bahktin’s carnivalistic sense of the world, as they dissolve earthly inequalities via their fundamental androgyny and disguise of the human form. Bahktin’s theories state that the function of disguise during carnivale is to remove inhibitions and anxieties about exposing one’s innermost desires and tendencies within a public sphere. This unification of the individual experience with the collective perception is cathartic and universal as intimacy collides with the Other. This body of work has been an investigation into the psyche and ancient practices of translation of the ineffable depths of the mind and multiverse.