Twin feelings of disappointment and curiosity encouraged me to leave my home in Florida in to look for a place where I could grow personally and artistically. This departure initiated my transition from a marine biology student confronted by the commercial exploitation of the Everglades to an assistant to adults with developmental disabilities in the Pacific Northwest. These distinct experiences changed my art-making process completely. Central to my work now is the belief that caregiving represents a potent means of transcending the implacable cycles of violence and decay.
At the conceptual core of my practice are theorists such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Hannah Arendt, as well as artists and filmmakers including Maya Deren, Yayoi Kusama, James Turrell, Tony Oursler, and Jean Painlevé. In their wildly divergent bodies of work I detect a common spirit of inquiry into the poetics and/or politics of emergent properties in nature and culture. My own work treads similar terrain through explorations of such dualities as: intimacy/strangeness, exteriority/interiority, and satiety/excess. Ultimately, I hope to use my work to point to the places where such distinctions break down, turning to a fecund, value-neutral mud.
To achieve this aim, my work is deliberately – and often frustratingly – polymorphous. Switching frequently between analog and digital, I use “waste” gleaned from sites such as microbiology labs, spam folders, and junk yards, and remake them into elements for sculpture, video, performance, and photography for my installations and videos. Themes of ecology, desire, and personal vulnerability are crossed with feminist narratives on consumption in an effort to confront fears of the future. The worlds I create present a facade of magical whimsy. Yet they are equally calculated to disorient, thus challenging viewers to question the passivity of their involvement, and to reimagine the narrative lenses through which we perceive, select, and move through our many possible futures.
Press release for this artist.
Residency: July 2016 - September 2016
Art Exhibition: Thursday, October 6
Dakota Gearhart's website