(You should) take it with you

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Pellini, Emily Ann
Calderwood, Jessica
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Thesis (M.F.A.)
School of Art
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(You Should) Take It with You is a site-specific installation that explores the shift in family dynamics that occurs after the death of a loved one. This exhibit consists of three separate spaces that the viewer can explore. Utilizing nuclear cooling tower imagery, I examine communication with the dead through repetitive clouds of smoke with occult symbols that also function as access points of interaction with the deceased. This work is a method of mourning for me and a means of revealing family secrets that led to a dysfunctional family unit. The installation contains a family table with plate settings made from copper, vitreous enamel, bronze, and stretch-knit fabrics. There are multiple embroideries in another space that hang from the wall. Throughout all three space are altered or cast uranium glass objects. Uranium glass is glass containing uranium oxide. While containing a low level of radiation, it is not dangerous. However, it glows green under ultraviolet light and creates a sense of unease. These rooms are idealized and misremembered versions of childhood homes. Viewers are encouraged to investigate the spaces to reveal vulnerable truths about my own family’s dysfunction. In the visual revelations of these secrets, this project aims to connect with viewers who have also dealt with loss and the changes that come with it, as well as open a dialogue about loss, grief, and why family secrets are locked away.