Southern Comfort



‘Southern Comfort’ confronts the depths of personal, familial, and societal mental health concerns through its materiality and the process of physical creation. The quilt, as a cross-cultural, gendered object, acts as a motif for the traditionally domestic, gendered space. Over the course of 2017-18 the artist’s struggles with illness lead to a period of isolation. One side of the quilt is a mattress pad used for 9 months during this period, the other consists of 30 floor cleaning cloths bought at a local corner-store. Through hand-sewing of the entire quilt, the organization and deconstruction of geometric shapes act as a self-therapeutic mechanism and an agent for self healing and transformation. Over the course of the creation of ‘Southern Comfort’, the artist developed research on the connections between genetically and environmentally inherited psychological traits. The work is built as a memorial to the home and public environments she has experienced in Texas and speaks, through its fragility and softness, to the maternal psychological traits passed on to the daughter. The object of the ‘quilt’ is deeply embedded into the cultural memory of the American South. Its history can be contentious and divided; the image of the colorful geometric quilt is often attached to the romanticized historical era of the South during the 19th century and the idyllic ‘Old West’. As an object that is often linked to one’s ethnic/class/gender identity ‘Southern Comfort’ aims to illustrate the individual’s unavoidable ancestral history and draw historical objects into contemporary socio-political debate.