“The frozen food aisle is a trophy case to american imperialism.”
Jackie Kashain, Conan O'brian Show 2/17/15
My thesis exhibition, Tuesday Morning, exists somewhere between showroom and domestic space. The show is inspired by photos of famous dictators homes, and the design elements present in readily available, aspirational American home goods. The majority of the work is made from clay and my hand is evident throughout. The result is a queering of status through jubilant DIY - to claim its trappings without being trapped exactly by it. If I desire this killer home, I want it on my terms.
Over the course of my graduate studies, several pieces have been important to the development of this work. In my first year, I made a pair of human-sized pots called “Dick Pots”. The pot's pinchy scaffold build references Duchamp's bottle rack. At each cross section of the scaffold form was a limp dick with a glaze drip hanging on the tip. Pots of this scale are often found in hotels or outside skyscrapers. The idea behind this was to make dicks decorative. It is a way to try to tranquilize the male gaze. This was the first time that I attempted to add content to solely decorative objects.
In my second year, I made a large reproduction of “Wendiceratops,” a newly discovered dinosaur that I heard about on the radio while driving through the Valley. Wendiceratops was named for the woman who unearthed it, and has more spikes on its crown than any dinosaur ever discovered. Large dinosaur reproductions can be found at museums, amusement parks, and roadside attractions. They are always visual estimations, bigger than you, a kind of populist sculpture. Communities who tend to deny the existence of dinosaurs - evolution in general - are more likely to deny the existence of the wage gap. My undeniably enormous Wendiceratops, replete with painted toenails, was an attempt at showing the absurdity of much of history’s narrative - the jurassic elephant in the room.
In the spring of my second year, I made a large circular couch. The proposition at the beginning of the piece was what if every decorative moment became an opportunity to add content. The couch seats between 6 to 8 people. The legs of the couch are red ceramic life like renderings of four pairs of feet. The topper is circular with four pinched female figures standing on the edges as though they were fountains. An archetypal blue and white pot is at the center with dried pussy willows spraying from the top. The upholstery is a combination of maroon and beige Tommy Bahama like palm tree embroidered fabric. It was so exciting to see people want to sit on the couch, and take in the other works in the room. It was an approachable composition with subversive, humorous elements.
The thesis work continues to play with functional home goods. At the entry of the show is a ceramic tigerskin rug surrounded by a more country kitchen loop rug, also ceramic. The pelt was made by stomping out the shape and stripes with my feet. The loop rug was a tedious process of coils attached to slabs. Dictators love animal skins. The combination of the two rugs feels like a push and pull between adventurism, exoticism and power with domestic, ubiquitous and monotonous design. Slamming these two elements together feels American.
In the middle of the show, is a raw clay chair in the French style. It is collapsed, covered in gold leaf. It is bodily not only because it is a chair, but also because of the way the clay emanates moisture, and the gravity of the collapse is evident in the freshly sculpted clay. The origin of this piece is the first 60 Minutes interview that Trump and his family did, shortly after the election. All six of them sit on garish gold leaf chairs.
Towards the back of the room, is an overscale free standing fireplace made of handmade tiles. Oversized architectural elements can be found in palaces and McMansions. The tiles are fast and imperfect, and undeniably not commercial. It is adorned with faux tea lights and a faux glowing log. On top sits an ornate clock with two fatigued figures resting on its steps.
Clay has a memory. Humor is essential. Dictators are cheap. And everything is for sale.
2017 Thesis Statement