The conceptual frame of my work originates from the investigation of ritual and trauma through the presence and absence of the maternal body. This is then visualized through a series of mediated rituals. This occurs either within my artistic process itself or within the final work through symbols of recuperation and continuance. Ritual can allow contribution and participation in the world around us. Here ritual is functioning as a singular and private act; under the burden of grief and trauma embedded within instinct or what I call the matrilineal ghost.
The matrilineal ghost concept provides a container for collective and personal history that becomes visible as instinct. It is a space that continues to evolve through the interrogation of traumatic moments. It is the space where residue, marks and traces can be found or the way in which memory and trauma imprint on the present. The matrilineal ghost encourages a position that the psychical and corporeal bodies are perpetual and that one supports the other partly through the uncanny and repetition toward our own origin. By this I mean that they exist as the same yet divided realm of space and time. The energy between helps the other exist; each desires the other through a language of trauma. One becomes more aware of the matrilineal ghost through the absence of the maternal body. Yet it is much more.
As a continuation of these ideas, this new body of work turns to literature as a source of visualization. Literature is riddled with dead or otherwise missing mothers. I have chosen Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson) for the second book in this body of work. Housekeeping consists of a series of shadow boxes, image and text. For this project, I cut seventeen copies (and counting) of the novel Housekeeping into individual words. The text from the book is then placed in the empty space of the shadow box and in front of the image. The act and ritual of cutting the books speaks to the persistence of loss and trauma, which is fractured yet contained or fragments of trauma. With lineage tracing to Dada and Surrealism and advanced by Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs, the cutting of the text also visualizes the cut-up literary technique. It is used here for its inherent nature of rewriting or reorganizing and in turn allowing for internal housekeeping in response to maternal loss. The images for this project dissolve the boundary between loss, inside and outside. For instance, images mimicking wallpaper or wall paint.
11" x 14" maple shadowbox with image and cut text