Domestic Dependence was a collaborative, mixed media installation with my wife and partner, Hannah March Sanders. The piece, inspired by Bearing the Brunt and Hannah’s drawings of nude giantesses upon sprawling landscapes, addresses our anxiety about our growing family and its environmental impact. A large pregnant Hannah gives birth to fossil dinosaurs in a pool of fracking fluid as I tear the earth apart wracked with sympathy pains. The dead dinos trounce across the landscape covered by stitched and crocheted puddles of pollution, the predators eating dead cows stuffed with plastic grocery bags. This work began as we lived in northern Ohio, an area beset by natural gas exploration. The crocheted and stitched “rug” pieces Domestic and Dependence allude to the work’s dual relationship to fossil fuel reliance and traditional “craft” media as a nod toward domesticity. The installation as a whole is composed entirely from repurposed fabric and other recycled materials. The fiber based piece reduces impact by reusing existing substrates, and also diminishes carbon footprint by being fold-able, and thus taking up little space for shipping.

The content of this work, involves not only environmental concerns, but also the gender politics of childbirth and family dynamics. Domestic Dependence, like much of our oeuvre, is potentially contentious, but our aesthetic is geared toward wrapping the bitter pill of our message in a bright, sweet nest of visual cotton candy. If we can wow with color and craft it leads even the most contrary viewers toward considering our message. This strategy has paid off in exhibitions of the work at New Mexico Highlands University, and the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, organized by gallery manager, Liz Montgomery. The Arts Council exhibition was featured in a recent article in the Southeast Missourian newspaper.