This series was named after the Edvard Grieg composition based on Ibsen’s play, Peer Gynt. My mother’s father was in the army, and she spent part of her childhood in Denmark. The fairy tales of trolls made their way from her childhood to mine. I love that the troll can be a source of comfort or terror, maybe simultaneously.
The story of my mountain king is a complex interweaving of family dynamics, patriarchy, power, religion, and the South during a time of change. I want the work to be a conversation starter along these lines. The soft sculpture troll shown with the Void painting is meant to be a literal guide. The viewer can carry it around with them as they look at work to help them interpret the pieces and ease any anxieties. It’s very lightweight. And then it can be returned to its “spot” in front of the void painting when the viewer is done—a spot chosen by me, that’s preserved by its fabric shadow, sewn on the Void painting.
There’s an audio component that hints at the themes in the work, by giving viewers the option to listen in through headphones suspended from the ceiling while looking at the paintings and soft sculptures. The soundtrack pulls together snippets of Grieg’s composition, a LibriVox reading from Ibsen’s play, and local radio (static, country music, pop, Ole Miss students praying for a football player, sermons...). You can hear a short clip here.