My current body of work incorporates familiar Midwestern objects that I associate with my grandmother and the domestic practices that I witnessed her perform throughout her life, many of which she taught to me. I appropriate these objects and techniques within the pieces in an effort to speak about my grandmother’s decline with dementia and, subsequently, the demise of our relationship. Over the past decade I have watched my grandmother mentally deteriorate into a shell of the woman she once was. Witnessing her mind and memory fade has been one of the most devastating experiences of my life, as I have been forced to process the loss of my grandmother while she is physically still present.
This experience has created an internally conflicting situation in which I feel both desperate to maintain the connection I had with my grandmother, but also a self-preserving need to detach myself from the circumstances. The appropriation of articles and techniques within my work serve as a memorial to the woman I knew my grandmother to be. However, these practices are highly time-consuming and often monotonous, which strangely offers an opportunity to mentally escape from the realities of her disease as I mindlessly work through the techniques. The inexplicable satisfaction I gain from the disconnection feels selfish and callous at times, but is a necessity to adequately process the psychological complexities caused by my grandmother’s decline.
The work I create is simplistic in form and craft, while portraying the convoluted natures of loss, memory, and homage. My work is a series of connections and interruptions; of tributes and escapes; of celebrations and liberations.