Orgasm: Le Petit Mort
In 2016, I experienced the death of my father. This moment catalyzed a contemplative period during which I mourned, and also allowed myself to experience the full range of human emotions, including joy. I began to understand the importance making time and space to deeply feel my emotions.
This particular work is about orgasm as death. “La petite mort,” is a French expression which means "the brief loss or weakening of consciousness" and in modern usage refers specifically to "the sensation of orgasm as likened to death." The phrase refers to a post-orgasmic state of unconsciousness and spiritual release.
While I experienced deep grief, I also felt a tremendous urge to experience joy in my art and to make my creative practice more meaningful and fulfilling. I was able to create a space where great pleasure and extreme sadness could be interconnected. Death became an opportunity to transform myself by being in a space of reflection.
This piece belongs to a suite of textile and wood panel collages addressing the themes of death and new beginnings. The works were developed during an artist residency in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, prior to the Day of the Dead in 2016. These textile pieces were generated from entirely new artistic practices that evolved from failure and experimentation. The textile collages in particular happened accidentally. The style I was most using at the time consisted of collages made from monotyped sheets of paper, so I carried this practice over to hand dyed muslin fabric. The fabric collages incorporated sewing, quilting, and hand dying, as well as printmaking elements, such as linoleum block.
Being in Mexico as an artist in residence, and working closely with the American artist, Anado McLauchlin, was a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow as an artist. Anado gave me space in his studio to play, relax, and slow down.