PLAY DATE: Companions Club
August 31, 2022 - October 2, 2022
“In times of trauma and overwhelming stress, it’s a natural instinct to feel nostalgia and rely on those feelings for comfort and a sense of normalcy,” said Valentina Stoycheva, a clinical psychologist specializing in traumatic stress, in the July 2020 New York Times article “Why We Reach for Nostalgia in Times of Crisis”. Finding myself suddenly cut off from my social networks and communities during the COVID-19 crisis, I began to think of my sculptures as company. Just like one’s friends, each Companion occupies a different space and serves a unique purpose. In this case, some are for color, some are for texture, and some are just for comfort. These Companions are based on nostalgic toys and pop culture references from the late 1990s and early 2000s that specifically resonate with my childhood.
Through a process that balances advanced planning with chance, each Companion is made from a base of flocking and resin and is mixed with found objects, acting as a catalyst for regimented chaos. I then combine discarded plywood, disco ball mirror, and other recycled materials taken from everyday life to give each piece a distinct personality, in a way creating a three-dimensional puzzle. By juxtaposing the geometry of the plywood, the organic fluidity of the resin and flocking mixture, and the overly-saturated color of the recycled materials, these sculptures end up taking on a life of their own, one that is often unexpected from the start of their conception. Repeatedly, color and form are what connects the sculptures back to the toy-like references.
As these sculptural friends started to accumulate and interact with the furniture, architectural built-ins, and everyday objects in my home-studio, I found myself yielding my space to what began to feel like a ‘Companion playground’. In this installation, the imaginary playground leaves the studio, and the line between sculpture and play equipment blurs, both creating and becoming the setting for their Play Date. Companions sit on swings, become their own swings, play on seesaws and slides, and interact with the existing gallery façade, taking over yet another space with their childlike antics.
Kingston Conversations Recording:
Play Date: Companions Club Walkthrough at Kingston Gallery:
Selected Images of Work from Play Date: