On a clean-out of my house, where my husband and I raise two children, I discovered I had nearly a thousand tiny toys that my children had collected at birthday parties, fairs, pizza parlors, the dentist, school - they were discarded and lost, ignored past the moment of receipt, but they were so treasured at the moment they fell into the children's hands. I thought about that moment of relief, of joy, that comes with it. How could I share that with my audience?
Much of my work has explored the boundary of what one person is allowed to do for another, and what is not allowed. The act of getting a toy from the suit will require an invasion of a normal boundary - one learns fairly early that it's inappropriate to get something from someone else's pocket, and undoing a zipper would surely be a huge transgression - but that act will only be as actively invasive as the viewer decides to be. There will be "awkward" zippers and those that are less so. Which will they choose? How will they go about reaching for the prize at the bottom of the pocket? Will they be polite or will they grab greedily?
The suit itself, while a delivery method for the treats, has deeper resonances - for those who go to that level, I will say that I live in Texas at a time when women's health issues, and in many ways, their bodies, have become more and more a political battleground. The boundaries between private decisions and public discourse have been transgressed broadly, and there does seem to be a particularly prurient delight in those who wage these assaults.
On a purely formal level, I delight in the play of color; the broadness of the forms, the way they move and interact; and the eerie transformations the suit makes as the zippers are opened and the pockets emptied, leaving a pockmarked, gaping surface instead of the sweet, smooth, sparkling surface that it starts with.
TreatSuit debuted at the East Austin Studio Tour in Austin, TX, November 2013. It is currently available for performances at events or in galleries. Itinerant performances are frequent; please check Performance Schedule for upcoming events.
Concept Sketches for Treatsuit, 2011
Appreciation for TreatSuit
Chrissy Pazalek, Costume Design Consultant and Seamstress
Karen Hayes, Intern
Donations: Rebecca Wallace, Laura Cho, Stephanie Land, Lilo Pomereaux, Virginia Fleck, Denise Prince, Melanie Sarwal, Kathryn Anderson, Rissa Potter, Missy Ward, Jennifer Chenoweth, Virginia Jones, Debe Bentley