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sharing a seat with the poets

An installation in homage to chosen family, created for the exhibition Memories of Tomorrow's Sunrise at The Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery.

The installation speaks to LGBTQ lineages and connections that are not based on blood, but on spiritual and creative bonds. It reflects the role of mentorship in passing along gifts of experience to new generations. Rocks and precious minerals represent the wisdom and memory of the earth. Plants represent growth. Books, jewelry, and the carved wooden sofa frame represent the refinement of human culture created from those materials. Pillows represent the softness, comfort, and pliancy of flesh. Light represents the transcendence of spirit and is a nod to LGBTQ celebratory club culture. It is simultaneously an altar, a beacon, a memorial, a poem, and an invitation.


During the final years of his life, I transcribed author, poet, visual artist, and renowned botanist, William Emboden’s handwritten poetry and manuscripts. I enjoyed frequent visits, in which we would sit across from each other on matching pairs of vintage sofas discussing his writing and sharing stories about our lives and the mutual appreciation of iconic visual, literary, and performing artists. During visits like that, windows into the past open along with the imagination. Numerous connections with luminary figures across time have been made during such conversations. 

After William’s passing, one of the sofas was given to me by his partner. During the process of reupholstering, I admired the look of the empty wooden frame and found many metaphors contained within its skeletal structure. Some of the original burgundy sofa fabric was used in creating the pillows along with the sofa’s future pink material and significant remnants of clothing from my past. In my years with numerous mentors, I have discovered various intersections and commonalities that give me a sense of spiritual kinship to a long lineage of cultural people - particularly to those who followed a poetic path.

I have for many years brought poetic words to life through the medium of performance art. sharing a seat with the

poets becomes activated with the recitation of William’s own poetry during the course of the exhibition.

sharing a seat with the poets, 2022
6 X 8 X 8 feet
Mixed media installation:  inherited sofa, inherited costume jewelry, books from personal library, acrylic paint, upcycled fabric, precious stones, rocks, plants, terracotta pottery, disco light.

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