Favourite Ways With Pheasant
Technically part of the Slim Shady series, but chunky enough to eat with a fork and therefore deserving its own category.
View images of this series.
Favourite Ways With Pheasant critically assesses how a culture based on consumption may pervert the experience and construction of identity within ourselves and others.
The work consists of seven individual pieces – Monday through Sunday – and was inspired by the title of a cookbook seen in a thrift shop: Favourite Ways With Chicken. The title struck me as erotically absurd. Creating a collection of pheasants attired in miniature lingerie – a different “recipe” (a.k.a. fetishized stereotype) for each day of the week to appeal to different sexual appetites – seemed appropriate.
Each pheasant, bound and dressed to be visually devoured, hangs in front of a piece of mirrored Plexiglas cut into a shape that simultaneously suggests a silver serving platter and vanity mirror. The purpose of the reflective surface is twofold: it allows viewers to observe the detail on the reverse of the pieces, but also serves to include the viewer in the work, implicating the viewer as both subject and object, viewer and viewed.
The pheasants are made from traditional soft toy-making materials: fabric, polyester stuffing, yarn, and thread. Their construction is a combination of labour intensive hand and machine sewing. It is relevant that the process of their creation reflects the assembly line manufacturing – of both material objects and identity – that the piece ultimately critiques.
In a consumer society, if you choose not to be a consumer, will you instead be consumed?