“Offerings” is an installation that combines traditions from my childhood in Sicily with American culture, which I adopted as a young adult and have grown into. I was inspired by the Sicilian feasts that are held annually to celebrate Saint Joseph. During these feasts, ordinary people share their homes with others, allowing their private, intimate spaces to become public.
This project was a way for me to reflect on what it means to remember, and what it means to be close and distant simultaneously. I built a 16 × 4 foot table with two friends. My intent was for the table to fit the dimensions of the gallery and to ensure there was a tangible distance between the table settings at each end. The table holds casts of body parts I created using various foods and organic materials. The casts are interspersed with objects I made or collected.
During the past few years, I have explored materials that change and age, as well as the role food can play in art. Many people are represented in this work through objects, some symbolically, and others directly. For example, my father’s hands cast in cough drops symbolize him and the emphysema he has struggled with for many years.
COVID-19 changed the way I intended to present this work and its concept. Decisions were made quickly in response to the spread of the virus, and I realized I had to say goodbye to the physical Mason Gross community a lot sooner than I had wanted to. I spent my last 2 days on campus collecting objects I found throughout the buildings. These found objects became stand-ins for the moments I would miss and were placed on the table. The installation has taken on a new importance and weight because of them.
The work is presented in two videos. The first video refers to a performance that never happened because of the lockdown. The second video shows the aging and erosion of the materials, which continues at the Livingston Arts Building still, without anyone observing it.
Maps is a small series of videos where I continue my interested in chemical processes and reactions. They were made at home during the current lockdown and are a direct response to the current times.