What’s She Building in There?
Tricia McLaughlin has taken on a large agenda—the redesign of nature. She does this in painting, sculpture, and animation. The exhibition at the DCCA includes all of these media and its title comes from the singer-songwriter Tom Waits’ composition “What’s He Building in There?” With strange lyrics and eerie sounds, the song explores the questionable activities of an eccentric neighbor who might be building something that is possibly dangerous, but certainly mysterious. McLaughlin, too, creates imaginative worlds where logic becomes personal rather than universal. The artist comments, “Borrowing from the spirit of anarchy, my art and design consider inventions that have broken away from the chains of usefulness, and open up the possibilities for inventing for invention’s sake.” McLaughlin is fascinated with the relationship between architecture and human behavior, and she likes to play with the idea of restructuring human behavior through fantasy architecture: “The structures are based on my own logic and lead to geometry that is often anthropomorphized or sexualized, resulting in an emotional and thinking architecture that also considers the social interaction it impacts.” The subjects of her work are water, land, and sky. She states that function follows arbitrary form and that out of these new forms the rules change. In her invented worlds, the malleability of water is explored, land folds by itself to form buildings, and clouds grow into biomorphic architecture. McLaughlin finds that the work comes from her “fascination with modern man’s desire to impose logical designs on the natural world. Architecture and construction reflect our logical approach to controlling nature through invention.”