Paper Violets, Vellum Prose, 2013-2017, Mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Photo: Natalie Fleming.
Ames Hawkins’s Paper Violets, Vellum Prose creates a multi-layered environment into which the viewers are invited to enter, stay for a while, and engage. The pew, the needlepoint cushion, and the twelve-pane window lend this installation a domestic and spiritual feeling. Through these objects, this work reflects on a very personal account of death. Hawkins’s father passed away due to AIDS, and this work invokes his memory through specific points of reference: the needlepoint, the wallpaper, the violets. Through this, and the accompanying twelve-track audio, Hawkins creates a space that can be entered—a space of comfort—in which to tell, and listen to, a dis-easing story about illness and death.
Ames Hawkins (b. 1969) is a transgenre writer, educator and art activist. Ames uses writing and art to explore the interstices of text and image, theorizing the power and pleasure of queer(ing) form. Her most recent creative and critical work appears in The Rumpus, Enculturation, A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing and Culture, Computers and Composition Online, Slag Glass City, The Feminist Wire, Interdisciplinary Humanities, and Water~Stone Review. She’s installed work at a Columbia College Chicago, the Terrain Biennial in Oak Park, IL, and at the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference. Ames is currently working on the installation/book project, These Are Love(d) Letters and is co-host and co-producer of Masters of Text (mastersoftext.com), a scholarly podcast exploring alternative alphabetic texts and creative-critical scholarship.