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Cabinet of Craving

white oak, antique English bone ware (circa 1843), footed silver tray, steel, pigmented dye, shellac
9 x 14 x 14 feet

Homage to Louise Bourgeois, Houston artist and friend, Jesse Lott, and Victoria artist, Madeline O’Connor. Cabinet of Craving assembles cross cultural adaptations found in furniture, ancient motifs mix bred with nationalist symbols, all under the influence of addictions that shape historical destinies. This crouching spider like monumental sculpture pushes it’s abdomen vitrine to the ceiling and confronts with a grimace both comical and frightening. Just behind this decorative mongrel visage, of an English bulldog and ancient Chinese “gluttonous” taotie mask, is Victorian-style glass case revealing it’s curious diet, an antique 1843 teapot upon a silver serving tray. The sculpture is a hybrid monster born out of addictions and manipulations of empires, in this case, the Victorian English craving for tea and porcelain, the Chinese desire for silver and the insidious and illegal trade of narcotics that lead to the Opium War.

photos: Nash Baker, Exhibited in ‘Contemporary Asian Art: Texas Connections’ April 14-Sept. 16, 2012; Asia Society Texas Center

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