size: 16.5 x 11.7 inches (approx.) / 420 x 297mm / frame: 516 x 392mm
medium: cut washi paper on wood panel
Being denied the use of one’s natural language is revelatory. I’ve been living in Japan for awhile now, and while I would never suggest that I am fluent in Japanese, I can stumble through most conversations. I can even explain the general themes and concepts behind my artwork – admittedly without grace or poetry. The point being that I get by.
Not so in Korean. Four days at the Gyeongnam International Art Festival were a shock; transporting me back to my first days in a foreign country, flailing wildly for any semblance of a communication connection. There is a kind of primitive magic in having your fluency reduced to only a few words. You learn to explain the most complicated ideas in tiny explosions of words and phrases. I came back from GIAF understanding my own intentions in my work much more clearly and fundamentally than, perhaps, since I first started cutting paper.
The Sting that Birthed the Universe is concerned with exactly that sort of effect. Metamorphosis, the kind of change that rips us apart at the core and rebuilds us in entirety, can come from within or without. An experience can penetrate our defenses and inject into us a potion or a poison or a rorschach ink blot. We are infected, mutated, evolved. A newness is conceived and grows, expands, takes us over.
Speaking of conception, this piece gave birth to the “All Runs Together” body of works which showed at Gallery Recolte in Fukuoka and Gallery Feel in Changwon (and will likely expand in the future – I’ve got so many more ideas). The pinkish ribbon that runs through all of the pieces is the active catalyst with the wicked stinger.
The antlers may be a metaphor for the complications of life and our twisting convoluted thoughts. Alternatively, I may have just really wanted to draw some crazy antlers.