Backwoods, collected objects, vessels, and peroxide on sawhorse table. May 2023. 42 in by 28 in by 48 in.
Backwoods is an auto-destructive sculpture which evolves slowly over the course of its exhibition. Vessels ordinarily used to preserve are instead flooded with industrial concentration peroxide. The objects contained within the vessels include wildflowers picked in Crestlawn Cemetery (Copperhill, TN); a paintbrush my grandfather dropped on the ground outside of his workshop, taken without telling him; a 1924 manual published by the Dow Chemical Company on the science of maintaining unpaved roadways; a fossilized seashell from Florida; digital photo prints; church stationary depicting Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt; as well as personal artifacts belonging to the artists as well as other artists on display in the exhibition. Over a duration of the three months, the industrial chemistry will oxidize the submerged objects in a prolonged dance of material interaction which is orchestrated, but ultimately uncontrollable. During that time, the artist attends to the sculpture once every few days to depressurize the vessels.