Priceless Works Gallery, Seattle,
“The Wolf Prince and the Parrot Princess, a show that might just be about a fairy tale about finding one’s soul mate in the last place imaginable, where a snowy landscape of an absurd pom-pom chandelier and a giant white rag rug are the icy setting for the Wolf Prince to devour his true love and the Parrot Princess to pine for her Pirate, lost at sea. A thousand snowballs, hundreds of found feathers, re-animated animal skins, intimate collaged silhouette portraits of the parted lovers and crocheted blood make up this installation, a musing on loyalty, transgressive love, oblivion and memento.”
There is a story that is both old and new….many of us have loved wrong. Wrong, according to our family, our culture, our society, our peers. But we have loved none the less, and found our soul mate in spite of the transgression. An archetypal human transgression, the story is as old as we are, and as current as last week’s news. Think Romeo and Juliet. Think of all the couples in San Francisco and elsewhere insisting upon their rights to legalize their union. “Don’t love that person” we are told, and we do it anyway.
The Wolf Prince and the Parrot Princess is my own story, my own fairy tale, a way for me to record and muse upon my own entrance into this larger story. I have been enthralled with the Fairy Tale because we both long to be a part of one and believe it will never happen. But sometimes they do. We occasionally find ourselves in the middle of one, in those fleeting moments of falling in love, when we really do walk on air, birds land on our fingers and sing sweetly around our head, and we know we will really live happily ever after. Grimm’s fairy tales are terrific. Finding true love is a gruesome, bloody affair, a trial by fire to find the most trustworthy. Usually one’s soul mate is cursed by a witch, and the only way to see the truth is by purity of heart, or tearing off their false skin and tossing it into a fire.
When I was young, I never dreamed of a Prince on a White Horse to come sweep me away, but a Wolf Prince to chase me across the snow, tear me to pieces and devour me. We would never be apart. I am drawn to the Wolf because they are known for their incredible loyalty, staying with one mate for life. Yet throughout the Fairy Tale genre, the Wolf is hated, hunted and feared. I love the Beast in Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. I believe he cried diamond tears. My beast, my Wolf bleeds the crystal blood of his beloved.
And now, I am the Parrot Princess. She is an embodiment of finding true love in the last place imagined, in her case, the wrong species. Parrots are known to become devoted for life (long lives of 75 years) to another parrot or a human companion. This is why we see the parrot with the pirate. The perfect couple. What human lover would have the pirate? But the Parrot Princess is ever there, upon his shoulder, even as his ship goes down.
And why do we all, the Parrot Princess, the Wolf Prince, you and me meet in a snowy landscape? I have borrowed from one of my favorites, Robert Frost. To me, much of his poetry is about an essential human struggle to figure out how to exist between two longings; a longing to leave this world, and a longing to return to home, to love. In his poems, a narrator gazes into a snowy landscape or other desolate space, longing for oblivion, to disappear. But love brings them back; even the pain of love and knowing it will eventually lead to the greatest loss. It is still better to know it once. I have made my own snowy landscape, an oblivion for us to gaze into, to enter for a moment, then return home.