MFA Thesis Exhibition
Donna Beam Gallery, UNLV
February 2-11, 2022
Reptile Expo is my contribution to the discourse on vice in Las Vegas. The exhibition indexes and interrogates cultural fabrications around substance use and abuse, nightlife and notions of freedom. It turns a skeptic’s eye to “sin” in the city while gamely indulging cliches and visual cues from the Vegas built environment and associated media landscape. It alights on the pervasive role of alcohol within canonical art history and constructions in its wake. It audits the Christian concept of vice from my vantage as academic party animal, ex-Catholic punk, feminist, artist and addict, acknowledging that all identity constructions are unstable.
Reptile Expo is anchored by a series of quilts, hand sewn in a traditional motif called Drunkard’s Walk. The pattern has its roots in the Women’s Temperance Movement of the early twentieth century and is meant to mock the drunk’s meandering path back home from the bar. I pursue this meandering path through notions of derangement and lucidity, adventure and domesticity, control and abandon. I place my evasive urges on display, wreath them in steel and circle them in lights.