Flame Tempered continues and deepens my use of common domestic objects that have been used as weapons in queer hate crimes. Here, a wall of objects including a tin can, bleach, and plunger evoke a danger of domestic spaces, their objects and inhabitants. In her recreation of familiar forms, clay becomes skin as she press into the wet skin like surface. The twisting, mutilation and ultimate undoing of the body is transferred to the objects. The disturbance of everyday objects calls into question the very system in which they exist.
The cornerstone of the show is my large-scale ceramic installation, which is derived from a hate crime that happened just blocks from the Living Gallery in 2008. "Flame Tempered" is an organic cyclone of over 70 ceramic baseball bats suspended in a mid air tumble. Illuminated with a single bare bulb, the work is an explosion of drama and emotion.
“Portrait of Julio” is a large-scale photographic portrait of Julio Rivera, a1990 Queens hate crime victim. In a one off media appropriation, this image was taken with a macro lens of a projection of a microfiche article about the crime. The result is a scratching out of the victim as he peers out from behind the worn microfiche film, its history marking its surface.
Exploring themes of violence based on difference, personal and historical loss and the dangers of pedestrian spaces, “Flame Tempered” reminds the viewer of the fragility of life not just for sexual and racial minorities, but for us all.