b. 1996 Dayton, Ohio
2019: BA Fine Art and Arts Administration
The University of Kentucky
2021: MFA Fine Art: Media
The Slade School of Fine Art
London, United Kingdom
I grew up somewhere in between the Midwest and Greater Appalachia. I cannot imagine having had a happier childhood. Springtimes and summers were full of open spaces, of creeks and crawdad hunting, and of skies lit by fireflies and campfires. Autumns and winters were full of thanksgiving, of family, and of tradition. As I have become an adult, I have been unable to shake my upbringing and my nationality. I have been unable to put it on the backburner of my thoughts and actions. I feel an internal tension between wanting to celebrate where I come from and knowing that my version of home is built on hypocritical systems, false advertising, and propaganda full of problematic rhetoric. I feel guilty between wanting to celebrate my version of home versus an objective, factual view of the country I call home.
Romanticism is a crucial aspect of my understanding of American identity and therefore my own identity. However, romanticism, nostalgia and memory distort. The lure of seductive, nostalgic views attached to nationist perspectives can be dangerous. Fooling ourselves into believing that things were better in a previous time is often how we cope with existential questions of identity.
The mystification of the past influences an understanding of life and identity more so than the present. Our memories are invisible until we see something that makes them tangible. Older memories and objects have greater cultural relevance as they are constantly building upon one another in our psyche. As the years and decades go on, memories are strengthened and solidified by repetition. The past is more apparent in our subconscious than the future. Contemporary happenings and objects have yet to have time to mature and expand within our memories. The ‘now’ is impossible to process but the past can be held on to, processed, and understood. This is enormously powerful and I fear that we far too often forget it.
Outside of myself, I am interested in the ways we all compartmentalize aspects of our identity as a way to understand ourselves. These things help us to do that. They are fueled by intimate stories and the connotations we associate with our own existence. We use them as a way to conceptualize their own relevancy and existence. Personal examples of these things include:
Crocheted and embroidered items (specifically doilies)
Foods (green beans, chicken and dumplings, potatoes, and biscuits)
Music (Ralph Stanley, Loretta Lynn, Tom Petty, The Eagles)
The American Flag
The memory of my great grandmother- Estelle Clark
These feelings of contradiction and my inability to escape my nationality have contributed to my struggles with chronic anxiety and panic attacks. My work is my best attempt to make sense of my state of mind. I find myself searching for the truth through the fictionalization of memory and my self-constructed realities (which we all have differing views of). In my practice I use objects, text, found and family photographs, and personal and culturally remembered artifacts and stories.