In my most recent work, the poppy flower has become a central symbol. I first witnessed these heavy headed flowers growing from the earth while living in Tuscany. With blood-red petals as delicate as the thinnest flesh, it seemed even the slightest breeze would tear them to pieces. But they thrived, pushing through invisible cracks and growing between ancient stones. With their strong, rod-like stems anchoring them soundly in time and space, they seemed to bear witness to the world--recognizing the plagues of the living while basking in life's abundant glories.
It is this dichotomy of violence and beauty that propels my work.
Combining hand-built floral forms with casts of my face and vagina, I attempt to represent this struggle both formally and metaphorically. The built, abstracted poppies push against the actual reproductions of the body, while also representing my own, internal struggle as a woman in contemporary society. Influenced by my past experiences in Catholicism and New Orleans debutante culture, I reproduce and manipulate my face and vagina, willingly presenting myself as object, while refusing to meet the gaze of the viewer.
This work is a demand to be seen, with the deepest desire to remain invisible. It is a refusal to be consumed, with a willing self-packaging for consumption. It is a rebuking of social norms, with an inability to discern where they end and the self begins.
It is the silent scream that comes from behind frozen lips.