Directing humor through the juxtaposed unity of figuration and abstraction, soft object-sculptures possess the power too emit a joyful and carefree aura.
I find that art tends to be more successful when embracing the artistic quality of amusement; it relaxes the viewer. Heavy and didactic content might bore or alienate audiences. Basing art on the inherent parody of opposition, the device of substitution creates paradox and humor. Enlarging the scale of objects creates displacement and irony, especially when the subject matter is thought of as small or trivial. Through satire and parody of opposition, Hammer (2015) aims to engage the viewer to rethink cultural norms around gender binaries and stereotypes.
Humor is the other side of gravitas; and conversely, the two are interchangeable. Would it be funny if they were not? It is in this space that dark humor succeeds. Although I’m a fan of dark humor, in my own art-making, I find I lean toward the lighter approach, with the gravitas embedded deep within the content. With Hammer, humor derives from the illogical exaggeration of trivial, household items.
Hammer, at fourteen feet long, and four feet at its greatest width, sprawls, bends, and leans with life-like ease. Hammer is designed as an object-sculpture that represents a hammer. Capturing the precise measurements of an actual hammer, I drafted the proportional schematic with new measurements—multiplying the original size by sixteen. Constructed entirely from textiles and stuffed with polyester fiberfill, the black and pastel blue hammer exterior is made from a combination of polyester fleece and vinyl. Hammer is rather humorous due to its giant scale and sabotaged function. Simultaneously accepting and rejecting the gender binary, Hammer is both vulnerable and strong, approachable and colossal, submissive yet undeniable. Immune to the stereotype threat, it defies the gender binary. Literally and metaphorically plastic, Hammer more than understands empathy and building systems. Hammer rejects the gender binary. Hammer rejects female devaluation.