2004-2005, Glass Beads, Cotton, Sequins, Material, Stuffing, Hardboard, Sizes Vary
The “Bead Series” are a number of wall sculptures constructed of heavily embroidered beadwork. Each convex oval has words describing an emotion sewn onto it with beads and sequins. Examples are: "Blinding Love", "Spitting Anger", "Bruised Ego", "Seething Resentment", "Raw Emotion", "Sucking Energy", "Gushing Sympathy", "Paralyzing Fear", "Burning Desire" and "Cloying Sweetness".
Each emotion (a noun) is described by an adjective that would usually be used in a relation to a bodily function or response. Thus the emotions become more than a feeling, they are presented as a physical manifestation. Describing one's emotions in this way suggests that the emotion is no longer enough in it self, it needs to be exaggerated and justified in the way the body reacts to it or expresses it.
The obsessive, repetitive nature of the production of the work and the richness, the shininess, the opulence of the materials used, reveals the dramatization of emotions for what they really are. They become a dressing up, rather than a paring down, a boastful vanity rather than a humble internalization. The time involved in making such urgent declarations of extreme emotion calls the emotions themselves into question. Urgency becomes labored, angst becomes considered, experiencing emotion becomes an obsession.
Photographs by John Hodgkiss