A Southern Gothic (2017)
porcelain, decals, dried hydrangeas
45 x 38 x 29 in.
As an artist, I bring together the beauty, violence, mystique, and oppression of the Deep South through Southern Gothic imagery. The use of flowers in my work is often a reference to the expectations of femininity as well as scent, genitalia, and mating. Nails reference the evangelical culture of the South, rape, and violence. By combining materials and imagery that are thought to be masculine and wild with materials that are traditionally feminine and domestic, I muddy the lines between all of it. This is my attempt to place viewers in emotionally uncomfortable or confusing situations that challenge convention and evoke compassion.
Living in the space between dead and alive, right and wrong, animal and human, my work is empathetic and critical simultaneously. Comparing the social constructs of traditional gender roles in Southern Baptist culture to systems and behaviors found in nature creates a non-linear narrative within my practice. Balancing the dichotomies of the wild and the domesticated, the fighting and the praying, is how I define my purpose as an artist. My work tells the stories of animals and humans alike: our struggles, histories, instincts, capacities to destroy one another, and the bonds created between us.
© Casey Weldon