vs. Vanitas

install view of mirror diptych, with bulbs arranged in a 4 by 6 grid mounted into each; an orange cord droops from each frame and is plugged into a socket centered between the mirrors
detail of lightbulbs reflected in the mirror and text in a Budweiser-style script font that reads, "  Service Refused – Janus Society – Homophile Rights"
detail shot focussing on an upside down dress etched into the mirror, and the wood billboard-style frame supporting it
vs. Vanitas plays with the tension between invisibility and narcissism.  This diptych of laser-engraved mirrors, punctuated by two dozen globe-shaped lightbulbs and resting on wooden frames, is reminiscent of roadside billboards.  The right panel advertises the upside-down, suspended and empty dress of Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz, and phrases describing the 1959 gay riot against police harassment at Cooper’s Donuts in LA.: bustling with disobedience – John Rechy – a barrage of coffee cups, spoons, trash – dancing / routine harassment – queens -hustlers – cruising – arrested queers escape patrol car.  On the left, a banner announces accustomed to manhandling, a description of the conditions pre-dating the 1966 riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in SF, and a panel reads Service Refused – Janus Society – Homophile Rights, describing the sit-in at Dewey’s restaurant in Philadelphia in 1965.  Literal obstructions to seeing oneself in these mirrors – glare from bulbs, the aspirational upward tilt of the reflective surface, and etching that interrupts the viewer’s image – create a context where constructing self-representation is necessarily done via a pastiche and patchwork of geographies and time.
mirrored acrylic, light bulbs, poplar, electrical cords24″h x 72″w x 12″d2014