|Lunch Break, 2014 (mock-up)|
Assart: The P.R. Years
I am very excited about a new series of work revolving around my Hokey Bear character. An appropriated political mascot, Hokey Bear is a character in my work who affords me the means to explore the social and political aspects of artmaking, storytelling, and interactions with nature. Assart is a chapter in the narrative of Hokey Bear, detailing the great P.R. years and his road trips across the states. Though a bit tongue-in-cheek, the concept of assart, the action of converting a plot of land from wild to arable, plays a foundational role in the work. This series will explore the (federally propagated) back-story of Hokey Bear, from his human adoption out of the smoldering remains of wilderness, to his training as wilderness ambassador and PR masthead, to his climactic self-realization of his paradoxical and troubling nature. In performance, print, and participatory interactions, this story is made live.
I am currently showing Puffs, and Lunch Break in an exhibition at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Springing from the Assart chapter, these pieces solicit interaction with the viewer, Puffs namely. In this piece, viewers are offered a free bag of cheesy puffs – that is, woodcut printed plushies, made translucent by their greasy innards. By a sign (painted over and written on by the great wilderness ambassador himself), Hokey asks to trade the cheese puffs for ‘tokens of nature.’