• LST VSSLZ

    I constructed this installation for the 64-artist show I curated about death and transformation called Good Mourning Tis of Thee at DEMO Gallery in Austin, TX. Anchored by an abstracted skeletal lightbox transparency on a bed of Virginia Pine boughs in a large skewed aluminum boat, the work presents a series of burials, ranging from the historical and intentional to the unintentional. A skirt of military tarps surround the boat in a dimly lit basement, displaying a panoply of objects that range from Egyptian artifacts to present day refugee belongings. Visitors circumnavigate a variety of dark passages from the reverent to the ceremonial to the circumstantially tragic. In the wake of recent natural disasters, this piece feels especially poignant as such vessels become both a source of hope and despair. The objects used in this installation are all from my personal collection of animistic pieces with personal or cultural history or that I constructed out of materials from my cosmology.

    2017
  • these, our precious scars

    ICOSA hosted a collaborative exhibition of sculpture, photography and installation created by sculptor Erin Cunningham and I in the spring of 2018, the final show in our original gallery space that was bought by developers. Taking inspiration from the Japanese philosophies behind wabi-sabi and kintsugi, we joined forces and mediums to investigate imperfection, longevity, hope and revealing seams in an homage to the topical situations of development and displacement. We used processes of melting metal, casting, tearing and gilding that explored ideas of alchemy and layers of inherited narrative to express failure, impermanence, industrialization and the misrepresentation of brokenness. From rising Phoenix birds, to remnants of the auto industry and interactive vulnerability, the show proved to be a healing journey into the spirit of our times and a fitting testimony to the positive power of change and creating magic out of destitution. My series Altertagsgeschicte from this show tore photographs specifically according to historical pain and change, then glued and gilded them. A booklet accompanied this series of images that was a takeaway for attendants on the opening night.

    2018
  • HAINT

    This epic multichannel installation will debut in January 2019 at the Visual Arts Center in Austin, Texas. Mounted on a trio of large cinemascopic screens, this installation speaks in complex terms about mortality, monuments, cycles of history and song, the origins of truth, the spiritual energy of objects and the roles of mythology and legacy in relation to our own timelines. Filmed as three separate productions in Croatia, Detroit and Austin, I used tropes of improvisation, narrative memoir, abstract landscape, performance and ruin to provoke questions about how subjective multiple sources of visual information can be. The images here represent staged production stills from all three segments, using dark and majestic compositions to add a somewhat Hegelian third meaning to the aforementioned moving images.

    The centerpiece HAINT: TRAUME, tells the story of a young man in Berlin trying to survive at the end of World War II. The story is a surreal journey through his desires and fears, as he simultaneously confronts and bears witness to the slow unraveling of his mother and the neighbors. Speaking to our fear of death, this segment examines the forces behind our will to survive and what price that may carry. This line between darkness and light blurs as the relationships and stability both dissolve, where the only constant and stable element is Mortality, played with great empathy and gothic beauty by the performance artist Joseph Keckler. In pre-production for four years, the project was greatly inspired by the conflicting stories the artist’s dying father told her about living through the end of the war in Germany and subsequently moving to America and serving as not only an architect, but supposedly an operative for the CIA. The entire piece was shot in Detroit, as a stand in for post-war Berlin, and is additionally available as a 72-minute feature film.

    2014-2019
  • In the Absence of Ideal Conditions

    In the Absence of Ideal Conditions, a collaborative exhibition of sculptures, video and installation between multi-disciplinary artists Elaine I-Ling Shen and Alyssa Taylor Wendt is part of the ICOSA Collective’s ongoing series of two-person shows. Using rudimentary materials and working intuitively together for the first time, their exploration into process, matter and time reveals themes of creation, existence, divination, deterioration and the notion of eternal recurrence. Much of their joint work concerns the difficulty in distinguishing between states of decline and evolution, along with the tension created by that ambiguity.

    This exhibition developed as a celebration/meditation/experiment about collaboration, process, and material. Created in a compressed span of four weeks filled with unexpected challenges, every decision and action between us, big or small, led us to this point. In the studio, we joked that ORB became our “idea generator”. Humor has a way of revealing truth as ORB’s material and conceptual DNA runs through all of the pieces in the show.

    The resulting works address and ponder ideas of absence, rebirth and beginnings. At a time of existential crisis in our country, our ideas naturally lilted towards a macroscopic view of being. Basic raw mediums turned into form that in turn, asked more questions about us as not only artists, but as humans. The act of making became an exercise in listening, flexibility and fortitude that shaped our practice and spirits, as we worked long hours even in arctic warehouse temperatures.

    In the absence of ideal conditions, you forge connections, you persist, you create.

    2017
  • Compartments of Desire

    My first solo exhibition at Women & Their Work Gallery in Austin used sculpture, photographs, performance and installation to present a large body of work that explores power, gender, healing, sexuality and transgression through organic materials and interactive experiences. I used my signature theatrical cosmology, dark humor, fetish objects and assemblage armor to create this world.

    With the UrGear series, I transformed vintage sports equipment into shamanistic armor and weapons. After asking a selection of creative subjects from the greater Austin community to tell me about the hardest battles they have ever fought, I chose a combination of the UrGear for them to model. The resulting portrait sessions documented them performing with my sculptures and felt empowering, as they found places of peace and nobility. The transformations were noted in the bronze plaques on a large three-tiered trophy stand of sexual totems called The Spectral Arcane.

    Addressing subthemes of desire, privacy and secrets, I made a silicone skin rug runner with veins called Swept Under that had a small rubber band ball of angst and secrets about me inside. Vanitas is an installation (with a performance on opening night) that used the idea of process and failure to show the vulnerable side of exhibiting. Lastly, Saint Grab, a quartet of black beeswax hands, came out from the wall in gestures of playful aggression. In the entryway, every visitor became an equal object of desire upon entering the show.

    A book based on the UrGear and my subjects is in the works for 2017.

    2014-2015
  • Understory

    Understory was an exhibition at MASS Gallery in Fall 2016. Curated by Jules Buck Jones, this multidisciplinary show used artists that employ narrative in their work, including myself, Hollis Hammonds, Lee Baxter Davis and Trenton Doyle Hancock. I showed video and production stills from the latest Croatia film, HAINT: Salvation and a giant 18-foot kinetic mobile sculpture, entitled YGGDRASIL: III IIIII III (Detroit edition) and represented in the following images.

    YGGDRASIL: III IIIII III (Detroit edition) took as its inspiration the rebuilding of a old home I bought in an auction in Detroit. With a partner, we lovingly dismantled and rebuilt this Victorian home and I used many of the pieces of our experience in this sculpture. The balance here represents the rebirth of a historical object and the potential dissolution of a relationship. Items include: 15 mild and stainless steel bars; monofilament; fishing leaders and hooks; mason line; Human Hair; 2 Paint Can Lids; Cuckoo Clock Weights; Rusted globe arrow detritus; Potatoes; Square 1890’s nails; Surveyor Pendulum; Personalized knife Sharpener; Victorian metal ornamental trim; Mirrored Plexiglass knife; Old Trap; Plastic miniature pelvis; 3 scalloped 1890’s shingles with lead paint; Gilded wishbone; black and white garden Polaroid; Miniature hand scythe; False Teeth; Bolt and Washer from decommissioned Detroit historical street light post; Sterling cherry; Wooden souvenir ax; “33” Dance Contest number; Burnt baluster; 1890’s hinge; Tiny Crutch; Ancient Lock and Key; Detroit ball peen hammer; Small handless clock face; Pulley; Borrowed rusted chain.

    2016
  • Pharoah Hoods

    An ongoing series of large mural photographs, the Pharoah prints were originally created as guardians for a commissioned installation in Norway. I created garments, including a hood and a poncho that mimicked my own veined skin, and presented them as part of a documented performance. Balanced between repulsion and desire, the pieces are meant to pull reference points from the viewer (shroud, burka, sphinx, saints,marble statuary) but lead them into an indefinable realm of new understanding.

    2012-2014
  • Art Nomads

    Following a residency at the Lademoen Kunstnerwerkstede in Trondheim, Norway in 2009, I was commissioned to return and build a site-specific temporary installation in a cathedral as part of this group exhibition. Commissioned by the Norwegian Arts Council, Movum Vitae was an installation of giant mobile comprised of objects from my artistic cosmology and hung kinetically in the apse of a cathedral. Reminiscent of the Norse Tree of Life, the sculpture displayed the fragility of balance between ideas and the burden of art as an end-product. The installation contained other pieces, such as The Ceremonist, a totemic staff with sound that served as evidence of a presence and action. Nostalgia Markers exhibited as a walking tour consisting of eight miniature monuments made from Cypress knees, latex and bronze plaques. Imbued with various thoughts or questions from my memories of the residency, they were staked into the ground and participants could follow a routed map to specific meaningful locales and thereby experience a taste of the inceptive process of an artist by walking in the literal footsteps of specific pieces of nostalgia. They were left there until they were stolen, discarded or defeated by natural elements.

    2012
  • magnus retwined

    Sponsored by Co-Lab Projects and LowLives, I conducted an interactive performance at the Fusebox Hub in Austin, Texas. I tied an unsuspecting audience together in a string web, while manning a turntable with short-lived soundtracks from my own 45 records. The participants developed empathy for my pathetic, slapstick struggles as the web grew, eventually getting used to being bound by string. Two Olympic competition style judges “rated” my maneuvers with a scale number system that seemed to both intimidate and inspire my character. In the end, I cut the crowd free, ending the connection, and only then did they miss the phantom community of one another. The following are live stills from the evening.

    2012
  • Hirsute Drosscapes and Cenotaphs (Finem Respice)

    Installation shots from a solo exhibition at Co-Lab Projects in East Austin, these images show four main works and a human hair donation station.

    Exploring ruins, mourning, monument, energy and cultural architecture, this exhibition used mixed media to examine certain rituals and approaches to dealing with change, both communal and in our physical beings. During the run of the exhibition, I sat in a tent outside in character, making a community hair wheel out of donated human hair locks that people left at a cutting station in the gallery. The final piece was displayed for the closing night, as a memorial to this community of people unknown to one another, but bonded by a vague interest in conceptual art.

    2012
  • Nuit Blance/Bring to Light

    Flash:Light, a division of Nuit Blanche New York, asked a variety of artists to contribute to Let Us Make Cake, part of the Festival of Ideas for The New City. We were commissioned to transform a model of The New Museum in downtown with our own artistic concerns in mind, which was edited and subsequently projected onto the museum itself in downtown Manhattan.

    As part of the annual Bring To Light festival, I was commissioned to fabricate two of my signs from the Alchemical Marquet series to show outdoors in Brooklyn. The duo, lit in cautionary red and yellow, mixes chemical compounds, alchemy, occult elements and hobo chalk markings to construct a message of vitriolic warning.

    Both 2011
  • Trifecta

    The Armature of Three Spheres is an installation and film that I made while on residency in Skagastrond, Iceland that was shown at Vox Populi Gallery. These staged production stills show three archetypal characters on a non-linear journey, representing the ideological battles of the creative spirit. The piece serves as a psychological mirror for the viewer, whose own portrait is composed through the recognition and projection onto the characters. All the prints are Chromogenic Prints, taken with a Toyo 4x5 Field Camera on location.

    2011
  • Mortiis Mai

    On May Day, I staged an interactive performance at the NuMu warehouse in Bushwick, casting myself as a human maypole. The ceremony involved ashes, salt, nudity, assistance, a composed soundtrack, braids, ribbons and nerve. I am interested in live performance especially because of the energy that comes from the great potential for failure.

    2010
  • Palimpsests

    A photographic series that was developed in response to issues with the medium of photography, the Palimpsest series are documents of private performances. The analog prints use both found and my own negatives, layered and exposed individually, to paint with photography in a traditional color darkroom. Burned and dodged by hand and with the physicality of my body, the unique single editions address historical sediment and possess a certain spiritualism that transcends the limitations of the photographic medium. All printed analog and with film negatives, 16x20 and 30x40.

    2009
  • You, the Vandal

    A single channel video installation, I filmed this in and around the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, where I grew up. I created a cosmological environment inhabited with only teenagers and the elderly, who interact with little speech and only a hodgepodge of references or knowledge. Storyboarded as a post-apocalyptic non-linear narrative, the video revolves around political standoffs, karma, religious fragmentation, games, communal force and cyclical patterns, all designed to displace yet enliven the viewer.

    2008
  • Nachtraglichkeit

    I made this short video for final night of the Index Festival in New York, curated by Victoria Keddie, which showcases artists who use live sound with moving visuals. I showed Nachtraglichkeit (NightFeverNightFever) accompanied by Bradford Reed interpreting the visual element on drums and percussion.

    2011
  • Alembic Duets

    Inspired by tableau vivant and discouraged by the opportunism of photography, these staged images were made as a response to my artistic concerns and as a path on which all the experiences of my life converged into an artmaking practice. Taken over a period of five years, the photographs use friends and family to create my own cosmology from allegories, ritual and remnants of folklore. All the images were made with analog cameras, some medium format, and printed by hand in the color darkroom.

    2005-2009
  • Good Mourning Tis of Thee

    This was a conceptual, epic group show of visual art, installation and performance that Sean Gaulager from Co-Lab Projects and I curated at the now defunct DEMO Gallery. Over 600 square feet and with over 60 artists from Texas, New York, Detroit, California, Washington and Tennessee took part in this expansive exhibition about death and transformation. This interactive show addressed issues of grief, loss, mortality, architecture and urban development and was staged in a building slated for demolition. My concept for this show was to approach death as a positive agent of change and also to unpack the conversation between our lack of death rituals in our culture to the expansion of urbanism and widespread gentrification that accompanies that with little recognition for the energy of place. The installations, performances, salon and public programs were widespread, diverse, engaging, provocative and widely loved. See the catalogue PDF for samples of the work and a complete list of artists.

    2017
  • Prima Materia

    Curated around the idea of alchemy, Erin Cunningham, Emmy Laursen, ICOSA and I designed a group show of Austin artists whose work explores a sense of mysticism, teleportation, clairvoyance and the magic of metallurgy. Shown in conversation with Erin and my show these, our precious scars, this group of work examined change as a positive force and one that could yield bigger discoveries and treasures, as with an alchemical practice. Pump Project closed shortly after this show with the sale of this beloved space. This exhibition affirms the strength of the art community to persevere in the face of displacement and gild the seeds of future endeavors. Participating artists included: Steve Brudniak, Lisette Chavez, Rachelle Diaz, Aaron Flynn, Mai Gutierrez, Sarah Hirneisen, Andrea Faye Hyland and Emily Cayton, Jieun Beth Kim, TJ Lemanski, Kyle Nutter, Amy Scofield, Prakash Spex, Wes Thompson, Bruce Lee Webb and Sally Weber.

    2018
  • From Eden to Oblivion

    Curated by myself and Jade Walker from the Austin Art Alliance, this group show for the EAST Austin studio tour showcased work from all 20 of the artist-members of the group in consideration of the topics of Utopia and Dystopia. This collection of work explored these themes in various states of extremes and a wide range of interpretations and media including sculpture, drawing, photography, painting, printmaking, installation and video.

    2017
  • I, Daughter of Kong

    Curated by myself, Cynthia Mitchell and the I, Daughter of Kong Center for Research, this group show at the old Allen Street Co-Lab space was an amazing amalgam of work. Based on the found film fragment that showed a creature, half ape and half woman, this center has been collecting and compiling evidence and research from the collective unconscious. This exhibition focused on the cults and sects that emulate and worship IDOK and the various theories that form as a result.

    Contributors included: Lara Allen, Skye Ashbrook, Marian Barber, Jeffrey Beebe, Emily Cayton, Wendy Farina, Colette Gaiter, Sarah Glanville, Wayne Grim, Billy Beasty, Katelena Hernandez, Amy Hicks, Steve Jones, Alexis Karl, Kurt Keppler, Abigail King, Kristin Lucas, Colin McIntyre, Cynthia Mitchell, Moira Murdock, Robyn O’Neil, Jamie Panzer, Sandi Petrie, Marijana Riminick, Jovi Schnell, Carrie Mae Smith, Phoebe Tooke, Anjali Sundaram, Alyssa Taylor Wendt, Jade Walker, Bruce Lee Webb and Caroline Wright.

    2014