Dead Weight | MA Thesis 2015

Dead Weight[1]: (noun)  1. a heavy weight or load.
                                     2. an oppressive burden; encumbrance.

[1] American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. "Dead Weight." Retrieved April 5 2015

The jewelry objects of Dead Weight are a product of compulsion, dedication and ritual through making. Each has been treated with love and care, given the time and respect they deserve.

Each piece in this body of work is influenced by the burdens of my past. Dead Weight explores the concepts of encumbrance and burden carried with the individual after experiences of verbal, emotional and physical abuse. The burden of façade exists within this work: concealing or neglecting reality; the need to conform to the object of abuse or abuser; the initial allure that is associated with the individual; the slow feeling of entrapment; oppression; and lastly, the after effects of escaping. All of these leave remnants. They become skeletons, shells, ghosts or shadows of the past that follow you wherever you go.

The show installation consists of four bodies of work: Conform to Me series; When you told me to “go long,” I should have asked “how far?”; Stand here and hold this a second, for me, will you?; and The Ouroboros series. The pieces in Conform to Me are small jewelry objects that stay within the scale of traditional jewelry objects that can interact with the body. The Ouroboros grow in size in comparison to Conform to Me, and have surface treatments that speak to the nature of deception and value. Lastly,  When you told me to “go long,” I should have asked “how far?” and Stand here and hold this a second, for me, will you? sit as installations in the center of the show and challenge the format of traditional jewelry through their scale and potential interactions with the body. 

Originally displayed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, Art Center Gallery April 10-24, 2015

Photographs were taken by James Conway