Lives / works in Brooklyn
My work explores the juncture between State-sanctioned violence and consumerism. I am interested in direct manifestations of State brutality— warfare and police violence— and indirect brutality— economic systems that necessitate exploitation.
Bold and sensuous use of color and patterning is a crucial element of my practice, both visually and conceptually. I use saturation— both intensity of color and density of image— as a strategy for seduction, aiming to disarm and subvert through visual ecstasy. An exploration of spectacle through the use of movement, reflective surface, and optical confusion is also critical to my practice. My interest in spectacle is twofold: in the structure and intoxication of its affect, and in its implications in the Situationist sense of capitalism as the all-encompassing Spectacle. I am particularly interested in the role spectacle plays in distancing us from the trauma of world events (both as consumers of products manufactured through exploitative processes and as citizens of countries actively engaged in horrific wars).
In 2011, along with Alexa Pham, I co-founded an anti-human-trafficking non-profit called Daughters Rising, based in Northern Thailand. Daughters Rising works to empower indigenous minority women and Burmese refugees to both prevent and break the cycles of exploitation. While this project is distinct from my artistic practice, my continued work within forcibly “State-less,” and marginalized communities has deeply affected how and why I choose to make art. While my position as a white, educated American working within communities whose cultures, histories and languages I do not share is inescapably murky territory— requiring constant self-criticality— my experience negotiating privilege, exclusion, and violence in the rural borderlands of Thailand has dramatically impacted how I view the nation-state as an agent, and how I think about citizenship, privilege, power structures and state-sanctioned violence. An exploration of these issues therefore comprises the conceptual underbelly of my work.