Twist Art Gallery
“Twins” included in “Haunted Gardens: Seeded Wastelands”
Curated by Susan A. Cipcic
Suburban Meditation Garden
Capitol Arts Alliance
Bowling Green, KY
Suburban Meditation Garden (remix)
Project Space, Lexington Art League
ARTIST STATEMENT: TWINS
“Twins” has evolved out of multiple concurrent influences. Individual potted wildflowers grow towards plastic imitation “flowers” that stretch from the ceiling. As siblings do, they exist in a grass is greener world – reaching and yearning for that which the other possesses – jealous, hopeful, preening. But though plastic is permanent, it is a poor imitation of the real flowers’ delicate beauty. The splendor of the natural flowers is individual and intense, yet fleeting, as they fade and die.
The piece reflects both personal experiences and larger societal obsessions as I have joined the cast as “stepmom” of our blended family and moved to the manicured, Bradford Pear – lined suburbs from my familiar urban landscape. I – almost naively – have found myself thrown into the ranks of ever more complicated family structures. These new experiences seem to contrast sharply against the parallel iconography of the ideal suburban soccer mom I see in the subdivisions around me.
I wonder sometimes about my own parallel reality: the one in which I continued to mind my own business and neatly side-stepped the ranks of PTA parenthood. Looking at “my kids” (can I call them mine?) I also wonder what role genetics plays, and what role socialization or experiences. And, the most difficult: how do I, and they, define and understand the differences between “step” and “mom”?
Stepping further afield, backing up from the microcosm of the individual family unit to the collection of many, I worry about the insustainability of the strange middle lands known as suburban America. We continue to corral, manipulate, pave over and remove our landscape. We insist on driving 8-mile-to-the-gallon SUVs as individual transportation. How long can we ignore the warning signs of disappearing, lost or genetically mutated species?
I was born in early June, making me unquestionably a Gemini. As the sign of the twins, I exist internally with these multiple realities.
ARTIST STATEMENT: SUBURBAN MEDITATION GARDEN
The installation Suburban Meditation Garden provides a space for its viewers to reflect.
Like a dream space, the Garden is both beautiful and unsubstantial, a Disneyfied replication of nature. Manipulated plastic bottles draw a line in space suggesting a gazebo, barely providing the support necessary for the plastic bag kudzu vines to climb. A cartoon pagoda stands on an Astroturf knoll. Cat litter frames the piece. Starlings watch from the wings, resting in the shadowy hints that continue the construction outwards. This is a derivative of a derivative. As bottles, bags and cardboard are used, animals and plants are removed from the wild, relocated, domesticated and retrained to become new building blocks. And as the human-made objects outlive their usefulness and become invasive trash, so, too, do the flora and fauna.
As the work is made exclusively out of recycled, reclaimed and inexpensive materials, it both critiques and acknowledges our complicity in the literal mountains of trash created in a throw-away society.
But I still hold out hope. I have always been a Pollyanna. There can be beauty in the ugly, and the sublime in the inconsequential.