Place(ment) is the title of my 2016 MFA thesis show. This installation utilized the Ozarks as a moteif to work with the ideas of painting, place-making, the holy among the banal, figure, landscape, and the relationship of the viewer to the artwork itself.
In the summer of 2015 I got the opportunity to study abroad in Italy. While I mostly stayed in the city of Rome, I was also fortunate enough to be able to travel by train to places like Cortona, Assisi, and Florence.
My art includes and involves the community that I am from and that interests me. My work focuses on the storytelling tradition of the Ozarks. I’ve been creating an audio component alongside paintings that question how stories change depending on the storyteller, what purpose the stories serve, and what makes them successful and engaging stories. In researching these ideas, I’ve been compiling urban legends, stories, folklore, songs, and ghost stories. These stories have been collected using books on Ozarks folklore and history, message boards, and stories chosen and told by family, friends, and acquaintances from the area. In choosing a variety of sources and in allowing residents to chose what stories they tell about the Ozarks, I hope to represent a more complex and three-dimensional view of the Ozarks that may at times include stereotypes from the area, but also include things such as the quotidian or unexpected.
These images are from the Summer of 2014. After driving from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Narrowsburg, New York up through the Appalachian Mountains, I made it up to Mildred's Lane for a fellowship. While I was there, I helped with the construction of the Alchemist's Shack during the "Alchemist's Shack III: Underworlds".
The Summer of 2014, thanks to the University of Arkansas, I received a grant to travel through the Appalachian Mountains on my way up to a fellowship at Mildred's Lane. These are the pictures of my journey up to New York and my way back to Arkansas.
In this body of work, I focused on oral and written myths and urban legends that I’d been collecting from the Ozarks and how they could be represented visually. With regards to mythology, I’m interested in how these stories form, what their purposes are, and how I can create my own versions of stories and myths using the quotidian-- both in subject matter and materials. I am rediscovering the joy of creating work out of things that are typically regarded as trash. Part of this is inherited from my family: my grandpa always rifled through other people’s trash to find things that could be used, my family was always passing down clothes and toys from one generation to the next, my cousins would re-use scrap wood to build forts and sheds. I wanted to make things from the scraps of what was around me not only literally, but figuratively. I used pieces of stories from urban legends, from my past, from mythologies to find ways of making something intriguing and interesting out of things that are discarded, ignored, and taken for granted.
Table Rock Lake was created by the damming of the White River in 1958. The creation of Table Rock Lake created revenue through tourism, but it also divided the hills surrounding the lake. This made an environment of small, close knit groups of people that are divided by the hills and arms of the lake. The area is based largely on tourism, but the communities tend to be very insular. I created these paintings based off of these ideas.