Visualizing anxiety—that is, to turn a multifaceted, ever-changing, shapeless and intangible idea into a static, singular physical representation—is difficult. Happiness, anger, and fear are easily shown, their feelings so acute and familiar, but something as slow and insidious as the everyday tight-chestedness of anxiety is far more challenging to convey. It is the expectation of things yet to go wrong, it is the ever-preparedness of heightened anticipation, it is guilt pulled from thin air, it is a thousand hours of worry over the thing that will never occur, it is the weight of shoulds and coulds and would-haves, and it is the attempt to preserve that which preserves you. Now, I ask you to illustrate it.
These sculptures are meant to convey small facets of these feelings; singular moments of anxious thought, small tokens by which to channel and sap some power from such feelings. By taking more-or-less happenstance objects and combining them in calculated and somewhat consistent ways, I have tapped into the opaqueness of the emotion—my strange but familiar discomfort. Within a defined range of materials and colors I find peace and control, within their simplicity a pleasing order, but more tension within the uncertainty of their success.
I’ve always admired Duchamp’s readymades and the brazenness of the concept; there’s a lot of inspiration to be had there, though certainly on a more ideological level than in any kind of actual practice. As such, the combining of everyday elements to create a new representation of an idea is new only to me—having never worked in the a medium before now—but I’ve found the process comforting. Which is, in this case, the whole point.