Jan. 14 - Feb 5th, 2011 at Roq La Rue Gallery
“Honey and Lightening” is a show of installation chambers, sculptures of talismanic birds and a series of staged photographs all revolving around examining the mercurial nature of human desire. The substances honey and lightening both have literary, mythical and archetypal references to the occurrence and evolution of desire and it’s fading. I see one as the slow ooze of pleasure and the other as the dangerous, uncontrollable and inexplicably instant occurrence of magnetism between two bodies.
Two installation chambers create full body experiences of these ephemeral phenomena and crystallize them in tangible form as a way to signify the human longing for a perfect stasis of experience – which is impossible as emotion begins to degrade, evolve, fold in upon itself after the initial strike.
The Honey Moon chamber is a 10 foot tall mirrored jewelry box spanning 12 feet, enclosing a giant engorged golden chandelier formation encrusted with tens of thousands of gold-colored trinkets – the cheapest of the trashiest materials but representing the purest element from the bowels of the earth that has induced lust to the point of violence since pre-history. This giant mass of gold, as well as the body of the viewer, is reflected infinitely in 35 mirrored panels that create a simultaneously claustrophobic and expansive encounter that memorializes a temporary event. The mythology of honey, a bodily fluid produced from flowers, has long been associated with the ooze of erotic perfection. An ambrosial month of drinking honey-wine has followed the wedding ceremony since the Pharaohs. But locked up in the folklore of this transitional period is that the delirium ends and the state of bliss is forever sought after.
The Cherry Tree Root chamber is, in a way, a reverence to my own experience with Colpo di fulmine — “love at first sight” in Italian, which literally translate to “lightning strike”, and a craving to re-experience a place and time that no longer exists. Recently digging a 16 foot deep foundation hole, my husband and I removed 72 tons of dirt from our property to build a studio, exposing deep and gnarled roots that seems like frozen solidified lightening, long forgotten, dug up by us to lay the foundation for the rooms we hope we’ll die in. The root chamber is like entering this underground world hidden from view of long- ago electric ephemeral desires that have now turned into strong and sturdy roots- not as flashy as lightening but quietly enduring and growing. The roots are battered beautiful twisting accumulations of crocheted scraps of fabric I’ve saved for years, old ropes and remnants of past installations, hand-spun hair, rabbit fur and old clothes, all coated in the dirt from below my family’s foundation.
Creating a chamber to recede into is an homage to Jeffry Michell’s 2001 installation “Hanabuki”, the site of our own lightening strike, a catalytic phenomenon that lasted a millisecond. Like life itself beginning with lightening striking the primordial soup, the mythology of celestial fire recognizes its ability to create fast irreversible transformation. Despite the impossibility of it, I made my chamber as a way to revisit and remember the secret place Jeffry made, the fur-lined hut that was a pleasure palace where I fell in love, presided over by little dancing gods spreading the joys of the pleasure in all bodies, a beginning of something that seemed temporary and ill-fated but really turned out to be deep-rooted like an ancient tree.
The installation also includes a gathering of talismanic birds made of leather and more than a thousand individually cut and sewn silk and satin feathers, representing my imminent needs but using imagery used by a variety of ancient peoples and cultures — a desire for protection, for a guide, and harbingers of happiness in the form of a raptors. In photographs, close friends and my husband play out roles that tie into the everyday events of their lives, but represented as re-interpreted gods and goddesses such as Hecate, Demeter and the Green Man. The photos speak to themes of cross-roads, the double pull of isolation vs. community, a power buried in the beginnings of motherhood and the visceral erotic pull of the earth, volatile but buried like a dormant volcano.
Sponsored in part by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs CityArtist Grant and 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax Revenue.