VENUS RETROGRADE (2018)
APEX is an ongoing series of exhibitions of Northwest-based artists, curated by Grace Kook-Anderson, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art. For Venus Retrograde, I created four artworks: two video installations with sound (one using projection and one using monitors), a site-specific text installation in "Instagram Inspirational Quote" font, and a sculpture that I designed and had professionally fabricated with Worbla Black thermoplastic and a lenticular print. I worked closely with the museum's preparators and conservator to bring in readymades including fake plants, an air freshener triggered by a motion sensor, furniture, LED candles, and photo murals. My inspiration and footage was found in the shows The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise, which have been fodder for my creative practice for several years.
My objectives with this body of work were to explore the intersections of surveillance and romance (specifically in light of a recent sexual misconduct scandal that affected production on season four of Bachelor in Paradise), draw attention to the role of the camera operators as agents of this surveillance, interrogate the position of Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison through the archetypes of Chiron, the wounded healer, and Charon, the Styx ferryman, especially in the context of what theorist Rachel Dubrovksy calls "the therapeutics of the self," and to tease out the many simultaneous experiences of time and memory represented through the three shows and their various structures. In my choice of text and readymades, I carefully curated a "synthetic aesthetic" that echoes the push and pull of authenticity that makes reality television so compelling. It was paramount for me to resist ironic distance and to temper my critique of the shows' problematics with genuine compassion for their participants.
Venus Retrograde is on view in the APEX at the Portland Art Museum through August 12, 2018.