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I Am My Purse I & II, created from inherited iconic articles of fashion, are bittersweet expressions of mourning as well as explorations of identity and memory through commodified material objects. In altering my mother’s personal belongings, I evoke memories of her personality, her values, her stories as well as the ups and downs in our relationship. An avid consumer of high-end fashion with an artistic and dramatic flair, she is remembered by many for the unusual way she dressed. Her sense of beauty and the way she saw herself was deeply connected to what she possessed. And as she considered me an extension of herself, she had very strong ideas about the way I should look, dress and consume, which resulted in continual struggles between us. But, now that she is gone, her numerous treasures belong to me; I am the keeper of the fruits of her lifetime of collecting. Each object imprinted with some ephemeral aspect of her, acts as a poor surrogate that cannot fill the hole in my heart and feels more like a burden. In search of some sort of healing and reconciliation, I am altering her prized objects, somehow continuing the conversation with her, for better or worse, in hope of perpetuating some fragment of a narrative of intimacy. In my artwork, the commodification of memory runs parallel to the personification of commodities, blurring of lines between merchandise and intimacy, between memory and brand.

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