Pictured: I/Me, 2016
Stuffed leopards, mixed fibers, brass, wool, rice, polyfil
A recent fellowship in a remote village in China was an inspirational experience, leading me to reflect on Chinese cultural history and inspiring me to create an array of timeless, poignant stuffed “beasts” that I envision as power figures. Recalling fetish or totem items from some unknown past, they take the shape of animals, as icons, as anthropomorphic abstractions that reference animism, history and cultural symbolism, to express and seek out essential truths about our humanity.
I/Me was created in response to my experience as an outsider in a different culture as well as my take on how the Chinese feel about the radical changes occurring in their world. Both situations involve confusing contradictions about identity and place, human relationships, our capacity for loneliness and the need to belong.
Nature of the Beast (The Herd), 2016
Victoria Secret PINK stuffed toys, found objects, embroidery threads, mixed fibers, polyfil
The installation Nature of the Beast is comprised of stuffed dogs, distributed by Victoria Secret, that are reconstructed with found objects to become surreal whimsical beasts. Like a cabinet of curiosities sprung to life, the sculptures’ ornate surfaces possess a vivid tactility that appeals to the senses, while their sculpted forms have unpredictable and at times unsettling compositions. Embellished with embroidery, an act identified with the feminine, they embody vulnerabilities about self-image, identity, gender, ethnicity and status. Similar to the bestiaries of the middle ages, they stand as representatives for a curious collection of human traits.
– Jodi Colella (Somerville, MA)