An ego, like a bloated body, eventually pops (2020)
Graphite on paper
108 x 96 inches
If you listen carefully, a coatrack always asks three simple questions: What would you like to contribute? What are you going to take? Or, are you just going to ignore me? In A swollen ego, like a bloated body, eventually pops (2019-2020), the flesh of a woodland caribou hangs from the spine of a coatrack. As a threatened species in Canada, I find it alarming that there are consistently new listings for caribou pelts on Kijiji. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised? The demand for fur in Canada is longstanding, ranging from the early days of European settlement to contemporary fashions. The original use of fur as a functional item sourced as a by-product of hunting makes sense to me. But what boggles my mind is the attitude that fur as a symbolic object, can transfer ideas of status, attraction, and beauty onto the owner. How can an object have this much power? And at what cost? By operating within the transitional zone of the coatrack, this deflated body questions our involvement with environmental ethics. What can we take away from this image? In what ways do our consumer habits contribute to the problem? Or will we continue to disregard it?
I use the style of the beautiful grotesque to trigger a three-part emotional reaction to my drawings. The harmonious tones of graphite in combination with a realistic approach, create an allure that is short-lived as the grotesque subject matter of the work is read. As the pesky squirrel with donut moment suggests in A swollen ego, like a bloated body, eventually pops, I also like to add a twist of humor to my work. Although my use of humor may be slight or dark, it is used as a tool to break the serious undertone of the image. A swollen ego is 9 feet by 8 feet tall, allowing the objects depicted to be life-size. By defining a ground that feels both sterile and eerie these objects exist within an unspecified time and space. This absurd moment speaks to our past and our present, but ultimately raises questions concerning our relationship to the environment and our future.