Kaus Australis Residency
I was chosen by Carl Berg Gallery to experience an Artist Residency with Kaus Australis in Holland. While in Rotterdam, I studyied the works of the Dutch Still-Life Masters. Viewing these works in the actual region in which they were produced, not only provided the context (landscape and cultural ideology) for these Still-Life paintings, but also planted ideas of taking on this genre through the medium of performative installation.
I felt inspired as I began to see painting as a performative installation; as an active explosion on a surface, capable of doing something; a theater just waiting for a performance. Before I knew it, my studio/living space become the site for such a performance. I borrowed nails from Evan, a hammer from Kaus, and plucked brilliant bouquets out of a dumpster from behind a flower shop.
I began to experiment with rates of decomposition. The floor of the studio had a grid-like series of holes; 48 in number, 2 inches deep and equally spaced apart. I placed the flowers that I wanted to see decay, at a faster rate, inside of these holes full of air. Other bouquets were placed inside of water bottles and spaghetti sauce jars full of water, to slow the rate of decomposition. And then these bouquets, too, once dry were added to the walls to finish their slow final stages of decomposing. I attached the groupings of flowers to the walls using tacks, nails, and string and a very organic composition.
In my practice I interact with plants in a way that allows me to examine their life cycle more closely. I used this residency to surround myself with this process, in order to possibly open up a deeper understanding of my interest. By taking Dutch Still-life painting into question through the performative installation aspects of the work, I realized different truths than I could have found from viewing it solely, as a painting on the wall. I felt as if I had stepped into the space of the painting; between each flower, behind the vase, and around the objects on the table. Orange peels were piled on the floor, books piled, water bottles stuffed with aging flowers; I ate, drank, slept and joined in the deterioration process.