This body of work was created in conjunction with the separation from my partner. Each sculptural piece utilizes various aspects of our bed as it’s primary material. Our mattress, sheets, pillow, and blanket were transformed into a collection of objects that carry a deep sense of personal ritual. The work culminated into a 3-day performative action in which collaborations between myself and photographer, Gina Cholik and video artist, Anne Klint transpired. What remains from a deeply meaningful process is a series of sculptures, photographs, paintings, and video that are best viewed in conjunction with one another, each informing the next.
For detailed information on individual pieces, read below:
69” x 51” x 23”
Our mattress, sheet, dye, pencil, paint, thread, wood, water tubes, lilac
I remember being fascinated with the notion of a clean white sheet. Evidence of human existence on a white sheet (perhaps the most intimate and physically used object in a home) may decrease its value to the point of being discarded. The object’s physical usefulness remains unchanged, while it’s psychological role has been altered.
Stains are records of past events, often those that we don’t want to remember. The theme of moths (inspired by their fatalistic devotion to their flame) emerged in the piece, camouflaged into the stain-like markings and at times attempting movement by being partially cut out of the sheet itself.
The hole on the left side of the bed is lined two feet down to the floor with a structure of 2x4s inlaid with fragrant, lilac filled water tubes. Olfactory perception is also alluded to in the form of a Facebook conversation between my stepson and his mother that is sewn into the mattress. It reads (translated from Tagalog):
NJ: Do you miss mommy?
NJ: How is it at nighttime?
ZC: I cry at nighttime when I’m alone because when I smell your pillow, I can still smell the scent of your hair.
The mattress was the first piece made in the series, concurrent with an intense period of grieving.
23” x 18” x 24”
Sheet, dye, thread, amethyst and unknown crystals, taxidermy form
I had dreams of this otherworldly lynx prior to its formulation into a sculptural object. This particular lynx (both as object and concept) has become a very real totem for me; the sculpture feels oddly alive.
Lynx are nocturnal hunters and have exceptional night vision, thanks to a layer of mirror-like cells in their eyes called the tapetum lucidum. Unabsorbed light hits this layer of tissue that is covered in a zone of doubly refracting crystals and is reflected right back at the retinal receptor layer for another chance at absorption. This is why cat eyes shine in the dark.
Their remarkable sense of sight has given the lynx a reputation in various cultures as being the keeper of secrets and having a heightened sense of knowing. I personally interpret the heightened sense of sight to be a representation of attunement with one’s inner self.
My experience of loss opened me up to the practice of remaining aware and observant while in the experience of fear. I overcame lifelong phobias in the timespan of this object’s completion.
41” x 8”
Bed sheets, thread, Lex’s hair, cherry wood, steel
A life-sized skeleton was embroidered into the face of the dress using my then partner’s hair for thread. The dress itself was hand sewn from my bed sheets. The piece is a reminder that the foundation, the bones of our lost relationships are a love that will always remain. It protected me in the sense that it comforted me enough to let go. I’m glad that I could wear these pieces, could wrap myself in them. I wore them for the entirety of the three-day performance.
12” x 11” x 9”
Comforter, turmeric, my hair, hair dye, hummingbird feather, thread
I knew I was going to be sleeping outside alone. The headdress was hand sewn from my comforter, and designed to defend myself from my own fears by minimizing the sounds that would incite them. It’s force field like powers work equally well in the city; allowing the wearer an internal experience in a public space.
The impulse to stain my face and dress in that moment came in part from a desire to reclaim the notion of staining. When staining the mattress and the lynx, it came from a place of mourning and of contemplating the “mistakes” that led to the end of a partnership and a new-found strength. In facing the void of the night and the holes and my discomfort, it was important for me to continue to stain in that space of indeterminate transition and to access an intentional mark-making that utilized the pigments and support of the earth.
Our pillow, Lex’s hair, owl feathers, Mother’s hair
I was reluctant to give up my favorite pillow to the project. It’s so comfortable. I imagine it now to be filled with owl feathers rather than goose down. Aerial photos taken of crop circles inspired the pattern sewed with my partner's hair into the center of the pillow. I de-threaded the weave of the fabric in select areas surrounding the drool stain markings. A bit of my mother’s hair was incorporated as well.