Shrine To My Scale
candles, glass holders, and found objects, graphite drawing. 2009. dimensions variable
Shrine to St. Betty
sugar and found objects. 2009. dimensions variable
In the grocery store I see a magazine; the headline reads “Lose 20 lbs Before Summer!” The next headline on the same cover reads “Fabulous Desserts For Less Than $2!” I watch TV; there are commercials for restaurants with mouth watering entrees that make me hungry, and then commercials for the latest diet drugs. My two favorite television programs contradict each other: in one, four bakers compete to create the most beautiful cakes, and in the other, designers compete to create clothes for models who have likely never tasted cake in their lives. I live in the richest country in the world amongst people who are malnourished. We hold skinny to be the ideal beauty, yet more than a third of us are obese. As I struggle not to regain the weight I lost, I become obsessed with chocolate cake.
These are the contradictions I explore with my work. Why do I become obsessed with food, and why do I eat what I do? How does my body image affect my self-worth? How do advertisers manipulate me to crave food that is bad for me? How do I resist those cravings? How is food a stand-in for psychic issues we are too afraid to deal with? These are issues that many people deal with—I know this because I read about them on the covers of magazines. As I explore these issues, I use humor as a way to invite my viewer in on the joke. Even though it isn’t a joke.
While this weird obsession with food and body image affects both men and women, in our culture it is usually more of an issue for women. Because it is primarily a women’s issue, I use historically feminine media—knitting, quilting, and embroidery—to create this work. From the time my mother first taught me to embroider at age five, I’ve been exploring fibers and creating things with my hands. I’ve studied and developed a deep reverence for the historically feminine “home arts” that women have used as one of their few creative outlets for centuries. As an artist, I seek to reclaim these practical skills as a means of artistic expression, and elevate them to a higher form of art.