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Nest of Vipers 2021

Installation view

variable screen prints, drawings on Tyvek, cut vinyl on windows and Tyvek, laser cut screen printed MDF

outside looking in

window wall


tyvek drawings

Nest of Vipers

For months these dual headed snakes have been writhing though my studio as I contemplated creating installations that were not Covid vectors. This show is woven from small snippets of whatever work I could get done as the world crashed around all of us. In need of a tangible outlet I chose to focus on ways of working that I knew from past crises could soothe me. Repetitive tasks were a talisman to get through the day–printing for the physicality and familiarity of the act, a way of marking time as the calendar days blurred together.


I returned to large scale drawing systems that I developed in my twenties to help stave off panic and balance my Bipolar 2 brain. The process of building and destroying layers upon layers was a way to constrain aspects of my life–to keep me from reeling out of control. I’d spend hours intricately patterning areas, only to cover 70% of it the next day and start the process again. Part of the process is just about showing up and spending time with the work as it grows in front of me. 


All of my work contains elements of the multiple. The traditional approach to printmaking is to make exact duplications that can exist in different places. But I'm more drawn to what happens when all the copies live in the same place. Layers of print become the skeletons that my drawings are built upon. Sometimes this manifests as the same image repeated over and over within a space, creating cacophony. For this installation I relied on screen printed monoprint techniques–the individuals share the same lineage but are not exact copies. You can find their cousins within the crowd, but each individual piece is different in some way.


Throughout quarantine I drew and printed nests of intertwined snakes based on childhood nightmares while ruminating on how lost I get in the worlds I create. Around me constant vigilance bled into the summer of the pandemic, protests, and the political climate. The stress of all of this churning physically manifested as my guts writhed, eating themselves like the snakes I was depicting. In the fall more stress compounded as I returned to my job at a school that had in person classes. As I watched the global cases rise, I landed in the hospital with an autoimmune flare during the lead up to the election and started a treatment that further compromised my immune system. This brought even more vigilance, the only familiar thing was my studio–danger was everywhere outside.


My work is predominantly site specific, it doesn't fully form until it's in a space. The same boxes of elements would make divergent worlds on different sites. It’s a game of call and response as the piece grows and insinuates itself into its new home. My trajectory before COVID was increasingly interactive public works. People manipulating pulleys and cranks to make the stories come alive.  All of a sudden touching anything was perilous. The floor piece Anklebiter was born of this loss, the viewer can navigate gingerly through spaces, precariously, as we have for over a year. Interacting in the in-between spaces–an amalgamation of brio train sets and the floor is lava. 


Hopefully we’ll get out of this pandemic soon and I can put these snakes in a box for a decade or so until they creep out at another point of high anxiety. But for now they’ve made themselves a den in this space to bind and writhe for a while.


This video was made for

MadArt's Artist Relief Program, 2020

This body of work, as well as dealing with unforeseen pandemic expenses would not have been possible without their aid. Click the link on their name if you want to see the videos of artists they helped through this program.

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