Not all artists are writers, but sometimes the artists’ statements about their work, materials, or process add valuable context to their pieces. Read what some of the artists had to say in their own words.
Recently I have been using my artwork as a means to comment on my observations of life. I have made work that references my sexuality, my experience of pursuing the “American Dream” and the all too common flipside of that pursuit, consumer dept.
I created the brooch series “Love” to reference my sexuality and to depict my family’s conflicted view of being gay. Through the use of patterns, I challenge the viewer to break down the walls between their preconceived views of queer identity. I created digital designs that were laser-etched in a mirror to depict the discomforting experience of queer attraction represented by sperm turning into spiders. After experimenting with various mediums, I found mirrored acrylic, which allowed me to capture the viewers’ gaze. Working in mirrored acrylic and modern technologies, I was able to permit the viewer to reflect on their own identity – the viewing of the work invokes the viewer to question the construct of their queerness.
I have often worked with innuendo, references, jokes, materials that are loaded, evoke reactions and associations for the viewer and the wearer. ‘Warmth’ was part of a series of erotic drawings; ‘Hilltop’ [is] visually referential. My work is about drawing, making a committed mark as with pen and ink, a rapid decision in time and space. My projects use nature, guide nature to create forms and compositional systems using the characteristics of the material and the process.
Materials that are somehow improbable or counterintuitive especially appeal to me. The challenge then, as a metalsmith and jeweler, is to find the balance between utility and content. Utilizing or even altering those materials in a way that is appropriate (within the context of jewelry and fine metals) without destroying the qualities that hooked me in the first place. I’m often surprised at the unexpected associations that this change of context brings: A snake rattle painted red becomes more lewd than sinister and the sable fur in a ring both soothes and stimulates.
My wearable work is an external display of feminine power that emboldens the wearer to show his/her own unique spirit. I visually juxtapose forms both familiar and unexplored to provide a transcendent quality that is inextricably tied to the four elements of fire, air, earth and water. Growing up with jazz and classical musicians led me to experiment with complex, fugue-like, visual compositions which are informed by my love of music, architecture, nature, and astronomy. By utilizing demanding and intensive, hands on, metalsmithing techniques I counter society’s impulse for immediacy. Many of my pieces take months or even years to complete. The journey to the final object must be equally worthy of the result.
Both of the pieces [in this show] are belt buckles that use sexual innuendo, with a touch of comedic cartoonist design, to convey a political point.
“Don’t Teabag on Me” was created during the height of the TEA Party protest while Obama was president. When the TEA Party first began assembling they called themselves “Teabaggers,” not realizing that a teabagger referenced someone who participates in a certain kinky sexual action. The piece utilizes the design of the Gadsden Flag, a key symbol for the TEA Party during that time, and their naivety to rebuke what the TEA Party stood for.
“Fill ‘er Up” uses sexual innuendo to discuss dependence on gasoline, more specifically oil. A car gleefully takes another hit of gasoline while a gas pump gleefully obliges. Both are in an act of dependence on one another while the car, and subsequently the owner, continue to take it up the ass, with the prices of gasoline seemingly poised to skyrocket and the damage to the environment persisting.
Within recent Western history, the female body is synonymous with sexuality and capitalism. We are taught that the ideal woman is beautiful, hairless, curvy (but not fat), with long hair, and perfectly airbrushed and made-up at all times. My work uses satire to discuss these issues women deal with on a daily basis. Body hair is only acceptable on men, so I transform my leg hair into a sexual object that reinforces femininity. …No matter what women do, our bodies are overly sexualized – we are treated like products for sale. Reclamation of sexuality by any means is a beautiful start to a feminist statement.
An actual belt buckle to display your “Texas Belt Buckle”. It’s just like grandma’s deviled egg tray…but for your testicles.
As a youth, I and a few others were lured into checking out a teammate’s “Texas Belt Buckle”. What a surprise that turned out to be. To an adolescent, it was a awkward and funny moment of “boys will be boys”, but hindsight allows me to reflect upon our lack of consent. This belt buckle invites you to picture what that might be while allowing for the actual display of one’s “Texas Belt Buckle” if desired.
Texas Belt Buckle (noun): when you have your pants on and pull your sack out over the top of your belt like a belt buckle. -Urban Dictionary
The Bisected Flower series is a result of reflections on the nature of attraction. I have always been drawn to the beauty that borders on the grotesque, and by the intimacy and femininity suggested by blooming flowers. The flowers in this series are divided into two parts: the petals and the reproductive organs. Petals, particularly, in the case of the orchid’s labellum (the specific petal included in the piece) are designed to entice and lure in pollinators. The architecture of the labellum is intended to function as a landing pad for would be pollinators.
Flowers are by design promiscuous and overtly sexual. It is their sex appeal that enchants us as humans as well.
The innocence often associated with flowers is ironically amusing. The way in which the two parts of these flowers come together in my pieces is done so in a way that the reproductive organs must slide into the petals.
Thus, the purely beautiful is impregnated with sexual tension.
Attending Indiana University, the home of the Kinsey Institute, I took it as a personal goal to correct what I perceived as a dearth of nude male representations in contemporary art jewelry. As an undergrad I became aware of photographers like Arthur Tress, Bob Mizer, Duane Michaels, the duo Pierre et Giles and others who I saw liberate the male nude in contemporary photography. In their images I saw power, sensuality, notions of dominance and passivity, and countless narratives each seamlessly employing the male nude. As a metalsmith, I was hoping to add this same variety to the jewelry field, both visually and conceptually.
Tay Dunivan is a non-binary artist residing in California. They primarily produce work within the realm of jewelry and wearables. Their work in inspired by kitsch, trash, and queer culture. They have a deep love of making, and take the act of creation as a very serious responsibility. Their objects are considered and meticulously constructed, but present with a level of aloofness and lighthearted nature that they generally do not find in the art world at large. In aim to draw the viewer in, elicit a playful response, and then inspire deeper contemplation on the subject matters the piece presents.
“Get Off My Lawn”
A hair comb meant for your pubic area. Playing with traditional gender roles and adornment, taking a traditionally feminine and soft object and making it combative, and able to stand up for itself. Also using the imagery of a white picket fence to play with ideas of challenging being a homemaker.
“Don’t Fucking Follow Me”
A brace made from the wedding bands I was making my ex husband for Christmas while he was fucking a bar tender. Created after he left me via text message. Titled after the last words he ever said to me.
These pieces were conceived first around the time that the Brock Turner rape case came to light. I had just moved to a college town where the college students have huge frat parties and the streets run red with Solo cups the next day. I began cleaning them up as an act of service, an ode to my life in clean and eco-friendly Seattle. I drew connections between the wanton disregard for the planet and the subsequent mistreatment and abuse of other people’s bodies while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Other influences for this body of work include consideration of preciousness, self-worth, marriage, and what it means to be a woman with a vulva. I encourage the viewer to look at these works from all angles and to consider yourself in relation to the materials.