Jennifer Purdum’s Domestic Mori and Trojan Houses are inspired by personal hardship and loss. Purdum and her husband’s home in New Orleans’ 9th Ward was flooded during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After returning to New Orleans, she watched her fellow citizens rescuing what was left and stacking their lives in piles along the road. The artist saw the leftover objects as signifiers of missing people, and of the places destroyed by the flood, as well as as repositories for memories of those lost. Purdum’s Domestic Mori references these memories, creating a precarious, poignant architecture of stacked objects. Like a “memento mori” Purdum’s Domestic Mori are reminders of mortality, allusions to the fragility of life.
When Purdum relocated to Cincinnati one year after the flood, she had a strong desire to move her former home with her to this new city where she felt like an “outsider looking in”. Like the ancient Trojan horse that breeched the walls of Troy, Purdum imagined using her house as a mask in which to sneak into a society that felt closed to her. Trojan Houses reflects this period in the artist’s life, when housing was precarious, and she was dependent on others for support.
Jennifer Purdum is the visiting Assistant Professor in the College of Creative Arts at Miami University, Hamilton, OH. She has exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Zig Zag Light Night, Gallery Svartaloft, Reykjanesbær, Iceland, AGallery in Chelsea, NYC, and at the Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati. Purdum was a winner of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence in Art Grant, has been published multiple times in the International Drawing Annual catalog through Manifest Gallery, and is included in the Drawing Essentials textbook by Deborah Rockman.
Inspired by science fiction, politics, the history of art, and a deep love of reading, Andrew Au’s 2005 Banque d’Epoch Eclipse series, critiques the George W. Bush administration and the individuals and corporations who benefited while Bush was president of the U.S. The intricately filigreed bills feature new monsters, each addressing a different topic: jingoistic American foreign policy, the destruction of the environment, a culture of excess, the PATRIOT Act, and more. Banque d’Epoch Eclipse plays on the words “Bank of the Apocalypse,” tying the downfall of humanity and the world to the evils illustrated in this currency-based imagery.
Au’s Objects of Warship series are imagined portraits of a lineage of patron saints from a future world ruled by artificial intelligence. Drawing from household mechanical parts, Au envisions what a machine would look like if it created itself, without human guidance or regard for form and symmetry. Au’s portraits offer a foreboding view of a future in which AI has replaced human intelligence and presence.
Andrew Au is an Associate Professor of Printmaking at Miami University at Middletown, OH. He completed his MA at the University of Cincinnati and his BA from Asbury College in Kentucky. He and his wife, Jennifer Purdum, maintain their studio in Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati.