Art has long been a way for me to see my own shadow, even before I knew what my shadow was. This year, I became fascinated by Jungian theory of the shadow self: the idea that the qualities we dislike and repress manifest as our shadows. Through sculptural world-building, I am attempting to examine one aspect of my shadow in particular: the part of myself that needs to be cared for and care for others. As I grapple with what it means to be an independent adult, I have found a cloud of shame surrounding the part of myself that will always need other people. Each of my creatures is a reflection upon the strangeness of the self, and how at its root is vulnerability and codependence. My creatures are not afraid of their nature- they rely on each other, often playing the role of both mother and child at once. Influenced by the Jewish folk tale of the golem – a protective being created from the earth and vivified through spell –I conceive of my creatures as similarly alien yet deeply human expressions of the collective subconscious. They watch over each other, but their primary function is to watch over us.
Each creature is meticulously created: whether needle felted from wool roving, or painted with repeating pattern, I take my time to form new life. Employing such slow processes as needle felting gives me time to bond with each beast, to truly get to know them as they are created. There are a wide variety of creatures from eggs to plants to beasts – collectively revealing growth and evolution. I ask the viewer to view each creature both as an individual and part of an ecosystem, as both art objects and protective spells. The creatures allow us to see our own shadows, reflecting an uncanny humanness back at us. After all, humans are only beasts who have forgotten their nature somewhere along the way.
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