Interdisciplinary Visual Artist

b. 1989, USA, under a dark moon

My work explores the slippery relationship between agency and structural power. I believe the rich expanses within culturally imposed binaries are fertile spaces to trouble hierarchy, dualism, and anthropocentrism. Recently, I have been working with power as expressed through the constructs of gender and nature, using hunting and sexual desire as a way to trace the complex movements of power between bodies. With a desire to re-enchant the world, my current work builds on these themes, focusing on blurring the distinctions between what we define as magic or science; spirit or matter; and nature or culture.

Since the Enlightenment, ruling systems of thought grant bodies to people and animals, but not to plants, or rocks, or less tangible entities such as light. Because the body serves as a metonym for personhood, kinship, and agency in western culture, my work reimagines the body in order to build solidarity and empathy with other beings. In my practice the body reveals points of overlap—moments wherein binary constructs dissolve and we catch glimpses of ourselves in the other. At once object and subject; animal and plant; masculine and feminine, this broadened understanding of the body encourages us to imagine into reality a more complex spectrum of experience.

This spectrum shapes my relationship with materials. When we name, define, and use materials, we imbue them with cultural meanings that are limited by our human understanding of the world. Yet they also maintain their own distinct inner lives. When I collaborate with something like salt, plants, or ultraviolet light, I take care to be sensitive to their desires and boundaries. This material ethics manifests in my assemblage process—bringing materials together so they can build their own layers of meaning to trouble, subvert, or expand how we see ourselves in relation to our world.

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© 2014-2020 Margaux Crump. All rights reserved.