Hats and Chains is inspired by my favorite game as a boy – Chutes and Ladders. There is no point to the game, really it's a matter of luck. But to this day it always gets me choked up when I get the long ladder or the even longer chute. We all know what it means to have “something to hang your hat on” or to get “a feather in your cap.” We even know the subtle difference between being “on the hook for something” and being “hooked on something.” Human relationships are reflected in objects, but hooks and feathers don’t mean anything as such. We are truly neurotic, that's what objects show us. They externalize power relationships without even having to do or be anything in particular. They are empty vessels; by always remaining symbolically unfaithful they make a clandestine home to our mercurial ideas.
This piece was motivated by my impression that many of us in the art community bend over backwards for “feathers in our caps,” where the system of rewards is fueled by fetishization. With the fetish there is no “there there,” only a fantasy that the rewards of art making are “spiritual” and life-redemptive, where self-sustenance is portrayed as an obstacle to awakening society and ourselves. The purpose is to show how we use abstract universals in our profession to motivate the life of the art market. With Hats and Chains I wanted to literalize an obscene conjunction, an ideological system that is like many others in using objects and their symbolization to motivate the exchange of power and its abdication by those subject to it.
Wanderlust in the Midnight Oil, 2022, chains, spoons, oil can, found crank, oil on panel, attachments, 32 x 32.
Mezannine, 2022, faucet, extruder part, chain, oil on panel, attachments, 24 x 32.
Manjiro’s Passage, 2022, arrowheads, seashell, chainmail, furniture tacks, oil on panel, 16 x 16.