My present body of work — CARDINAL — reimagines mythic figures through the language of extreme music. I begin with the premise that the mythological journey to the underworld can be interpreted as a psychological odyssey into the unconscious. Our experiences of the world are inescapably mediated, and it is the mediating mechanism — our constructed self and the stories we tell ourselves — that my work explores.
Joseph Campbell claims that in myth our consciousness is put in touch with the unconscious, that something archetypal surfaces. Engaging these archetypes through the language of psychedelia creates an otherworldly experience about both the inward turn of self as well as travel between this world and another. Where neon and fluorescents carry cultural associations to psychotropic drugs, pastels instead call to mind something of the artificial sweetness of nostalgia.
My practice revels in the dualities of partnership, spirit and embodiment, and specific places as sites of slippage between the real and the imagined. This is a vision filled with rivers and waterfalls, mirrors and passages, all to allow movement into the ‘other’ place of story without losing sight of the physical world. This work draws from a range of sources including the Sonnets to Orpheus by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke and the music of Canadian black metal artists Woods of Ypres.
My past participation in underground music communities fostered an interest in the theatricality of extreme music and subcultures of resistance, a theatricality that reveals an aggressive unrest with the world as it is and a longing to remake the world according to different principles. There is something of the almost anarchic individualism of Henry David Thoreau in black metal, something of the hermetic forest walker that finds greater solace in nature than in social custom.
My practice is ultimately concerned with the human spirit — how we construct our inner life through constant navigation of events outside us. This takes form through the conviction that the things most precious to us are as likely to come from pop culture as they are from sacred texts, that punk and kitsch are as critical as poetry, philosophy and politics.