Installation piece created as an artist in residence at Elsewhere, Greensboro, NC
The Martyrdom of Saint Elsewhere was created in response to the core ethos of Elsewhere and its Collection. It explores the sacred nature of the Collection and the value of its preservation, even in a sometimes broken state. When a glass is broken the shards are saved; as the building ages, plaster and masonry may be collected in jars. The sacred fragment is a universal tradition (i.e. the veneration of reliquaries in the Catholic faith). While Elsewhere is a secular entity, it honors the religious impulse in its daily function and its approach to materials and art making.
I created an archetypical embodiment of Elsewhere’s tenants by utilizing the clothes and ribbons of the collection. Saint Elsewhere, like any good Catholic martyr, attains holiness through physical trauma. The entropy of the collection evidences the trauma to Saint Elsewhere. As is demonstrated in Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, the ruination of body can be both sexual and spiritual. I have illustrated this transgression through means of an old wedding dress, a traditional embodiment of purity and virginity. I have done so by using ribbons coming out of back of the garment and the palms of the accompanying gloves. The wounds are physical: vulva, stigmata. They are also spiritually transformative: sex, birth, death, and trauma.
Occupying the space with the figure are a wheelchair and crutches, referencing bodily injury and incompleteness. Yet, the wheelchair is festooned with ribbons and silk, transforming it into a throne with wheels. It sits vacant, as if its occupant stepped free of its necessity. Also, the crutches in the corner appear abandoned by their owner, no longer required for ambulation. The room at Elsewhere becomes a shrine honoring the damaged and broken, elevating them to transcendence.