In my latest work, I delve into the history of pleasure gardens and interiors of 18th century Europe. As global trade and colonial expansion accelerated, images of foreign animals and faraway lands were incorporated into the ornamentation of the period. Exotic birds, vibrant flowers, and aromatic fruits entered the design of the domestic, bringing the world into the home. I investigate these spaces of pleasure as they relate to desire and conquest. Working with wood and fiber, I create new images, objects, and landscapes that cloak and distort the lustful associations of the original. Playful hand-rendered and applied surfaces alternate imaginations of opulence, theatricality, desire, and fantasy.
While these histories are often told as a matter of elite desire and global luxury markets, I trace their echoes in contemporary mass culture. My sculptural forms are based on second-hand objects found on eBay and at flea markets. My color palette is readymade, dictated by common materials found in art and craft stores. This engagement with commodity culture points to ways in which questions of cultural translation intersect with the world of the working class and the amateur craftsperson. After all, what constitutes “acceptable” aesthetic appreciation of the foreign is often framed as a matter of class—of tasteful pleasure versus tasteless offense, educated study versus lowbrow fascination. I invite viewers to defer these binary judgments and to make room for new intimacies between aesthetic idioms and cultures.
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