Art Making In The Time of Corona
With help from knowledgeable professionals, I have spent the last eight months building a new website dedicated to my multidisciplinary art practice. The site is studioepb.com.
Our home base is in Bushwick, NY and despite this bizarre, disruptive year of pandemic we have had, lots has been happening here. Read on to get a glimpse into some projects and news.
Most Recent Work
Suspension 6,000 ft nylon paracord, 2020 – 2021
When the world turned upside down in 2020, I packed up the necessary parts of my apartment and left NYC to ride out the incoming lockdowns with loved ones in Philadelphia. In the midst of trying to make rational decisions about an uncertain future, I began creating the piece Suspension using industrial grade nylon black paracord.
On the way out of the building, we met a man who had his guitar and television packed and ready to go. We, in turn, had dozens of flowers in glass jars, my harmonium and a bag containing ten spools of black paracord, a.k.a all art making supplies. For a few months, we hunkered indoors and did our best to stay hopeful and busy, which for me are part and parcel of each other. Over the course of the next year, I added to the sculpture, watching it grow and shift, accumulating one day after the next.
On March 13th, 2021, I made the final loops and then crawled up on the scaffolding of my studio to release the piece onto the ground. I untied what I could and the rest of the ropes were cut with heavy duty pruning shears. Not until I held the piece with one hand to stabilize it while cutting the very last thread holding its weight to the ceiling did I realize how heavy it had become. And when it fell, as if in slow motion, hitting the wooden planks below with a soft thud, I felt a streak of sadness in letting it go.
It’s challenging to let things go no matter how much of a burden they have become. Sometimes, the only way out is to physically cut that cord.
Current Studio Happenings
Psychedelic Panty Party / All Strings Attached
Recently, I became obsessed with an award-winning documentary about an intimate affair at the bottom of the ocean. The premise: a man decides to make friends with octopus and document his adventures in the kelp forest of South Africa. The result is My Octopus Teacher and the influence on my studio world has been vast and deep like the octopus’s home.
Thinking about how an octopus is essentially a mollusk that has lost its shell through evolution gave me an instant pang of identification for this underwater creature, who spends her lifetime seeking refuge from both predators and the elements.
I have been looking at images of the life in the ocean and thinking about the space of subconscious, particularly drawn to the fuzzy space between familiar and unfamiliar spaces, objects and dreams.
“All Strings Attached” playfully addresses a popular romantic colloquialism and concept. When we say “no strings attached” we attempt to abdicate from the emotional responsibilities of intimacy. Over time, I’ve found myself increasingly more interested in the cosmic & psychological ties that relationship creates, rather than attempting to cut them off. I’ve found that through touch and communication, we are all connected with invisible strings.
Education & Research
All Strings Attached, 2021
Francois Boucher, Portrait of Madame de Pompadour, 1756
Part of my ongoing research is focused on latex as a material in fashion and BDSM subculture. I’ve been conducting interviews with latex enthusiasts to better understand how this material came to signify the paradox of protection and vulnerability. I am also working on using latex as the ground for a series of paintings, experimenting with and surrendering to the material’s malleability and temporality.
In Fall of 2020, I entered the MA in Costume Studies program at NYU to charge up my research skills, add more context to my art, and develop community within the field.
So far, I am learning about topics such as how a very specific tone of pink came to signify opulence and sexuality, typologies of Japanese kimono and the intersection of the political and pornographic in eighteenth century France. These are just some of the topics available for further research in the Costume Studies field. In the next couple of years as I slowly work towards my degree, I’ll continue to find spaces where fashion history and fibers practice intersect. Disciplines of anthropology, film studies, philosophy and performance are all on the future docket.