Myths and legends are traditional narratives that were created to understand the early history of people. These playful stories offered accumulative knowledge during a pre-scientific era, a time when humans acquired insight through direct experience. While these tales of mystery and adventure require an extension of disbelief, they continuously transform into allegorical stories explaining and re-shaping contemporary ideas.
Mariners created superstitious beliefs during the Age of Exploration to understand the great unknown, to rationalize the terror they embodied when venturing over the horizon. While these quirky warning signs guided human fear in the sea during ancient times, the narratives can be used to navigate an unfamiliar and daunting oddity in the ocean today. Peculiarities such as plastic islands (The Pacific Garbage Patch) coalescing in the sea are contemporary unmapped occurrences presently generating fear. Conversations regarding plastic flotsam center around didactic statistics that are unimaginably forgettable and easily dismissible. I choose to speak of society’s material-driven world through storytelling, as this time honored tradition reconnects viewers to a visceral language created to forewarn generation after generation. These histories not only speak of danger, but also creatively inspire new interpretations of this neglected social phenomena.
While narrative drives my work, my use of wide-ranging and unconventional plastic materials complete the story. I am interested in the physical qualities of inflatable pool toys and found plastic sea debris for formal considerations. Color, texture and abstraction provide an aesthetic experience, one that involves the passing from disturbance to harmony. Yet I am also fascinated by the cultural context of everyday materials and how they can contribute to the conceptual framework. Putting aside the use-value and focusing on the material’s social value, one can consider where the material came from, what it means to people and what anecdotes are attached to the history of the materials.
About Kara Daving
Kara Daving was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1982, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In May 2011 Daving graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with an MFA in Visual Art and received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Bowling Green State University in 2004. Her recent work explores political narratives and abstraction through a sculpture and painting discourse. Daving playfully intersects the realm of fact and fiction, and draws from collective myth, sea folklore and current phenomena to tell the tale of contemporary consumerism.