Pillow Play

The exploration of ambiguous bodies, projected memory and the viewer as an active collaborator

I am interested in questioning how bodily forms that toe the line of the uncanny valley, elicit the viewer’s unintentional participation by coaxing them to project meaning or a definition onto a piece, stemming from personal experiences or memories, in order to dispel their own discomfort of not being able to clearly characterize the abstract work.
 

My work stems from my research into the global history of the pillow. This led me to the conclusion that the pillow maintains a dual existence as a domestic comfort object as well as an object of exaltation. In the domestic sphere, a pillow is associated with luxury and relaxation. When examined as an object of exaltation, the pillow is used to elevate things we find precious, such as our heads, functioning not only as an amenity, but as a pedestal. When the pillow is brought out of the domestic sphere and into the gallery, the sterility of the space exacerbates its two-fold function, bringing into question how an intimate space affects the feeling of an object and how one defines comfort.

 

Pillows are constructed specifically to interact with the body. The pillows I have been creating are informed by the weight of the human body but do not strive to replicate it. These pillows function as both pedestals and art objects, with the plusher forms working to extol the more enigmatic and bound bodily forms. My pillows have varying numbers of appendages that can be read as abstracted arms, legs, phalluses, elongated clitorises, or nipples. The ambiguous body association of my pillows, pushed by the use of fleshy fabric colors and weighted materials, are designed to elicit a sense of discomfort in the viewer since what they are seeing cannot be concretely defined.
 

My goal, is that my work will have a similar function to a Rorschach test. By pushing the viewer to project meaning onto what they are seeing, it not only allows them draw up subconscious memories but also brings that information to the forefront of their mind, allowing them to dissect my sculptures as well as their own interpretations of them and where that perception stems from. By becoming an unintentional active collaborator, the viewer will hopefully unearth something unseen in the work along with something not yet investigated within themselves.