My work explores bodily decomposition as a transition between states, where energy is transferred from one entity to another. I have examined this transformation specifically through the relationship between vultures and roadkill in Northern Virginia. Despite our perception of them as dark, ominous creatures, vultures can take what has been discarded and create life from it. My work draws parallels between the physical metamorphosis that occurs during biological decay and mutations in identity that accompany my own experience as a homosexual woman living in rural America.
My paintings examine the idea of queerness not only as a rejection of traditional gender identities but a rejection of our avoidant cultural relationship toward death. In observing the feeding rituals of scavenging birds I investigate associations between “naturalness” and morality. I compare society’s aversion towards taboo parts of nature - the grotesque, deadly, inhuman - to our antipathy toward queerness. My most recent project “Scavenger”, captures video of vultures with a Trail Camera - a tool used by hunters to track the patterns of wild game. In capturing these instances I explore my own experience with loss and grief. Like the corporeal transformation of form that occurs during the process of decomposition, the feeling of absence created by loss also deteriorates over time - new experiences eat memories like bacteria. Death is not an end: whether it is the body of an animal or memories of a relationship, death leaves traces behind. By documenting these vestiges I explore the absurdity of permanence in the natural world and aesthetics of coming to terms with loss.