I am dressed in white in a small space defined by tall white curtains. Through the fluttering part between linen panels, I make eye contact with a man, and he enters the space. “Would you like to receive a blessing?” I ask. He nods and sits in a chair in front of me. I place my hands on his head and wait for words to come to my mind, and then I speak.
These performances bring me back to when I was a young Mormon missionary in Los Angeles and was called on to offer blessings to people in need. I taught them as I had been taught; they could have spiritual experiences, which they would recognize by a warm feeling in their hearts. I am no longer a practicing Mormon, and because I am gay I am currently cut off from the Church I once served, but I still believe that people can have experiences like the ones I had as a missionary. I believe it can happen because of art.
I’m interested in what it means to experience inspiration. To what extent can I create situations in art (without religion) where I (and others) feel that burning in the heart? And how does this disrupt the power-structure that now excludes me? In my art practice, I seek to appropriate religious and art gestures in the pursuit of these experiences.
My work involves many mediums including printmaking, painting, artist’s books, texts, and performance art. The images and actions I create are based on my research and tell both personal and larger narratives. Recent areas of study include same sex relationships in the 1920s, New England folk magic, and early Mormon fraternal rituals.