Beaded Baroque

My current studio work incorporates beadwork, photography, digital imagery, and performance in a novel manner and challenges ways of looking at beaded objects by placing them in conversation with relevant discourses in contemporary practice and art history, specifically by bringing our current time of uncertainty and environmental decline into conversation with the Baroque period in art history. Current events bombard us with images of disaster, war, and suggestions of our impending demise as a species. Our human hearts are calling out for beauty, spiritual connection and, at times, even the need to celebrate our collective imperfection. The project title plays upon the word “baroque” with its relation to the meaning of an imperfect pearl. Pearls are commonly taken from nature and fashioned into beads, and contemporary beadwork is the foundation of the project. As part of the Beaded Baroque project, I’m working with a collection of objects of violence, such as maces, whips, etc. These are authentic pieces that I’m encasing in beadwork. Can encasing an instrument of violence in beads change its nature? Will the destructive nature of these objects contaminate my hands as I work? These are the questions I’m asking with this body of work. In my mixed family, Mennonite on my father’s side and Métis on my mother’s, there were conflicting messages about war and violence. My father’s family were pacifists, while my mother’s family took great pride in the Riel Resistance and subsequent generations of family members who served in the military and saw active duty in the World Wars. I think that many Canadians can relate to such conflicts in values and cultural ideas within their own families, and within our diverse country more generally. This work is in the creation stage, and not yet documented; however, progress photos are posted on Instagram as I work @seewollf.