ARTIST STATEMENT / BIOGRAPHY
I am a multimedia artist, with interests that span many modes of inquiry, processes, and themes. In much of my solo work, collaborative works with Suzie Silver Co-Producing Trans-Q Television and Trans-Q Live, as well as various collaborations with Dani Lamorte, Harrison Apple, Mikey McParlane, Adam Atkinson, Jonathan Armistead, Stephanie Ross, and John Musser, I have explored topics of gender, sexuality, and post humanism.
The absurd encounters that are manifested in these works embrace the spectacle with an affinity for maximalism; over stimulating viewers through the excessive selection of materials, and media. Methods of assemblage that pull from the tradition of drag are integral to the creation of characters and environments within these videos, installations, and performances. Discarded thrift store kitsch finds an opulent new life through a reimagining of its usefulness and worth. These decadently rendered materials are set in motion to expose camp's attack of the present via the detritus of the past1, and the ubiquitous nature of excess in society.
My works are full sensory and meditative, while employing a confrontational tension through rhythmic and saturated imagery. Prominent reoccurring themes in the work include portals to other worlds, voids and vortexes, entrapment, and the need to break free. The work is discursive of investigations into alternative forms of masculinity, blurring lines between mismatched sexual fetishes, and the generation of gender queer nightmares and fantasies. These works also approach scientific interests in quantum mechanics, the permeability of space-time, and post-humanism as means for metaphysical archeologically that digs into other dimensions.
A few of my most recent projects include A Girl Called Dusty, a multimedia installation/concert that forms a historic tableau of the works and life of Dusty Springfield. This work was presented in Silky Shoemaker’s Gay Wax Museum at this year’s OUTsider Art Festival in Austin, TX. I also presented Phase-Shift, a full-sensory installation at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts this spring. Phase-Shift explores a shift between multiple phases of being, neighboring dimensions, artistic movements, and morphing personalities. This installation integrates three new video portraits of the characters named, 'Shore Whore', 'Cat Bath', and 'Golden Girl'. Other elements include a Rococo chandelier, and a floor projection/installation that pulls from past works, 'Phantoms', and Śarkarā.
Teaching has been an integral part of my practice over the past decade, from teaching at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, to the Carnegie Mellon Precollege program, to most recently serving as a Visiting Professor within the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University where I received my MFA in 2013. The experience of teaching on a collegiate level was a longterm goal of mine, and is a major benchmark in the blending of my personal practice and mentoring/educational interests.
As part of the 2015 wats: ON? Festival, I was able to work closely with visiting artist Nick Cave from SAIC, and many esteemed members of the CMU Drama, Architecture and Art programs, to develop a new course entitled, Activated Anamorphs. This course allowed me to work closely with students to create costumed performances that were both presented in a cabaret/circus format, as well as several flash mobs around town. I have also worked as a fashion instructor at the Andy Warhol Museum which culminates each spring in a fashion show at the Warhol’s Youth Invasion. This has been a great opportunity to spur collaborative efforts between many local teen designers, and young video producers and animators in my Electronic and Time Based Media classes at CMU. The video and animation students have worked with me to create vivid and thought provoking backdrops for the various fashion lines. All of these experiences have served as interesting ways for me to share my interests in video, animation, performance, costuming, and event planning to new generations of cultural producers.
I also work with two primary collaboratives as co-founder of the Drift, and the Institute for New Feeling. These collaborations are on a longer term and more expansive scale, allowing me to explore topics outside of my usual working methods. For the Drift, I have been working with Steve Gurysh as a fellow of the Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry to develop several projects that explore bodies of water as a context for temporary public art. Since 2012, we have worked with resident artists and collaborative groups to produce a range of projects and events on the three converging rivers in Pittsburgh, PA. We host monthly programs that are free and open to the public. Most recently we have presented H30, an event series and platform for research that transforms select sites along bodies of water into immersive experiences in sound, expanded cinema, and new media installation. In this series, the Drift partners with artists, musicians, and technologists to develop audiovisual experiences that explore fluidity as an aesthetic, conceptual, and contextual body of inquiry.
With Nina Sarnelle and Agnes Bolt, the Institute for New Feeling is a collaborative research clinic committed to the development of new ways of feeling, and ways of feeling new. We offer a rotating menu of wellness treatments, therapies and retreats as a traveling performance series, with the longterm plan of opening a permanent spa. Our most recent and notable projects include Group, a two-person stage performance using 90 minutes of original music and projected video that was presented at the Special Effects Festival in NYC this past January, and Seek, a clairvoyant reading generated by the misuse of online search engines that was presented at Recess in New York City over May and June. This project received write-ups in Art in America, Animal NYC, Artfcity, the Fader, Maake Magazine, Bedford and Bowery, and more. Another recent project, The Felt Book, features 70+ artists and functions as both a weekly email subscription of at-home remedies and a touring exhibition. The Felt Book has been shown at SPACES in Cleveland, Recess in NYC, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, SEDIMENT in Richmond, Double Double Land in Toronto, The Cave in Detroit, Skylab in Columbus, The Luminary in St. Louis, Threewalls in Chicago, The White Page in Minneapolis, Leisure Gallery in Denver, FlaseFront in Portland, and StorefrontLab in San Francisco.
1 John Musser