Populatic

Reception: Saturday November 8, 2014 6pm - 8pm

 

Workhouse Arts Center, Building W-16

McGuireWoods Gallery Art Lab

9601 Ox Road, Lorton, Virginia 22079

Gallery Hours: Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm and Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Artist Statement:

In Populatic (referring to the name of the swamp I grew up with), the created environment presents the viewer with a fiction-like reality. All these sculptures are created, however, to convey a physical reality, and are ‘growing’ in abundance in a charged environment. Within this space, the memory of the swamp and the utopia that it presented to me as a child is amplified. While the construction of a nostalgic place is meant for exploration, child-like wonder, and tranquility, the realm of memory and experience asks the viewer to engage in the sometimes-uneasy edge of recognition and its residing alienation.

History of the Swamp:

The 5-gallon white paint bucket is covered in gritty, slimy mud and filled with pulsing, bellowing, sage green bodies. Specks of algae cling to the insides of the bucket and are washed away to the bottom as the 9-year-old girl grasps the hefty swishing treasure trove of caught frogs. She makes her way into the denser woods of the swamp, where the frogs wait in abundance. She shifts around the poison ivy, scratches past the thorns, sloshes through outlying puddles; this is her utopia. With just her bucket, hands and trusty cat, she wanders through this place of wonder and magic. The chatter, trill, and warble of the birds’ mixes with the chug-o-rum and croaks of the amphibians, amongst the ever present whine of mosquitoes. Shoots of teal seedlings stretch toward the sun, the older moss and olive green vines coat the trees. The rose purple clover flowers weave through the girl’s hair, separating her from the verdigris surroundings.

The Bullfrogs move impatiently in their temporary bucket-home, waiting for their inevitable release to nature. Their toes, like her mothers’ sewing pins, pawing over each other’s cocoa eyes and mottled amber thighs. Their slick olivine skin camouflages them to the muddled swamp waters, but their tendency to lurk near the perimeter makes them simpler to spot. There is an art to catching Bullfrogs; you can’t just chase them wildly. Sitting in at least a foot of water, if you splash your way in, they will swim away with ease. Tentatively the girl steps one foot in and watches her shoe slowly flow over with the malachite swamp water. Her other foot joins carefully, slightly in front. No sound or ripple can emanate from these steps. The girl goes up passed her ankles, her shoes soaked now, the water saturates her socks and creeps between her toes. She doesn’t mind, but her mother will. Deliberately she bends her knees and angles herself just above the frog, paying homage to its massive frame for just for a moment. Then there is no time for hesitation, hands plunge, and sleeves soak; tiny groping fingers angle and contort to capture but not hurt the beast. She holds her hands a second longer under the water and finally breaks the surface, handling the coveted prize.

 

Materials: Flax (artist pigmented and formed on Tibetan Molds), Abaca fiber, Cotton Fiber, Wax, Cotton Thread, Linen Thread, Aluminum Armature Wire, Galvanized Steel Wire, Soldering Wire, Floral Foam Bricks, Housing Insulation Foam, Blue Painters Tape, ½” x ¼” Disc Magnets, ¼” x 1/16” Disc Magnets.