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Artist Statement:

 

Created to be animated by Morgan Joy Brandt, an interdisciplinary performer, and showcased at the Kelowna Art Gallery, I AM Object utilizes four Halloween masks, acrylic paint, repurposed clothing, paper, pencil, and a single dried rose, assembled primarily with a sewing machine. Therein, the ideological and monstrous self is being explored in relation to how people present themselves to others, identify, build a personality (or persona), and the aspects of life as well as conditioning that inform aspects of ‘self’. In the creation of this sculptural object, materials and sourcing were significant considerations in relation to the concept informing it. The Halloween masks are a reminder of popular culture; time and place making such easily accessible, therefore relating back to society’s common narrative. The masks double in meaning by being functional in the same way a personality or identity is. Although personalities are largely manufactured outside of oneself and taught through conditioning, many people present themselves as their personality or persona. Often, acting out a personality results in inconsistencies between how a person thinks and how that person acts out their personality depending on their audience and situation. Likewise, the masks present themselves as a person’s outermost shell when they are worn, and they become the persona of the performer who tries to act them out; however, masks, like an identity or personality, are inconstant with the wearer’s inner truth, their multifaceted experiences, situational reactions, and lapses. The masks were painted with acrylic paint to allow for flexibility, while becoming another layer of masking that somewhat disguises monstrousness without entirely stealing the identity of what is underneath. The paint fights the forms of the masks by turning each into a representation of one of four common emotions; anger/fear, sadness, happiness, and neutrality. Re-purposed pants were used to connect the masks, granting the piece functionality while building off of the sociological concept that every person is conditioned through social institutions, meaning personality, like the pants, are re-purposed as well as roughly patched together based on what is accessible. Using pants made the addition of a pocket possible, which represents the packing of personality. The pocket is filled with torn paper with different labels, such as athletic, organized, and attractive, written in pencil on them. Much like our personalities, these labels can be collected, stored, and even erased. The dead flower touches on the beautification of the self through identifying as a certain personality type. All the materials are only shells of what each once was, functioning as metaphors for the dishonest nature of identify and the impermanence of ‘self’. The object can be left on its stand and each face can be interacted with, or it can be worn and performed. The pocket fillings function as miniature scripts for the performer, which can be symbolically ignored, or utilized in performance through careful selection and enactment.