Teresa Faris

Collaboration With a Bird V, #2

Medium/Materials: Sterling silver, wood altered by a bird, stainless steel

Dimensions: 5 x 3 x 1.5 inches

Year: 2016

Artist Statement: 

Human identity is rooted in our co/existence with animals.

Through process, material exploration and design, my work explores the ideas of pacification, advantage and disadvantage that, adjacently, resides within all beings.

When displaced from what is intended/natural and stripped of privilege/rights one must find ways of soothing the mind. A captive non-human animal may investigate an unnatural toy, pace or repeatedly chew wood, and a dis-eased human may pace or saw metal. The latest series of wearable objects titled Collaboration with a Bird(CWaB) is reminiscent of toys meant to pacify captive animals. The resulting objects of adornment act as a distraction and tool for introspective thinking for humans. Cast-off materials such as reclaimed perches and wood that have been altered and discarded by a captive bird are placed with sterling silver or gold support structures.

Anthropomorphism and dehumanization have been used throughout history as a way for privileged people of power to place blame, instill fright, disgust or contempt on disadvantaged persons or animals in an attempt to maintain control and diminish guilt.

Through weight, material and form these objects ask the wearer/viewer to question their own relationship to animals and how they choose to co/exist with “others”. By joining disparate materials this work challenges the popular models, misconceptions and superstitions that have lead to the death of animals and marginalization of humans.

Artist Biography:

Teresa Faris is Associate Professor and Area Head of the Metals program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she received the Women in Leadership Award. Former teaching appointments include San Diego State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Teresa is co-author of the Women of Metal Exhibition and Oral History Project, and is the recipient of numerous awards including: National Endowment for the Arts 2008 Grant Award: Access to Artistic Excellence. Teresa participated in the Artist in Residence program at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI (1999).  And, she exhibits extensively in Europe and the US. Selected Publications include: The Biennial Jewelry Issue of American Craft. Oct/Nov 2015, Metalsmith. Exhibition in Print. 2014, New Necklaces: 500 Designs from Around the World. Promopress. Barcelona, Spain, Jewelbook 12|13, Stichting Kunstboek Publishers, Belgium. Clowes, Jody. Metalsmiths and Mentors. Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 500 Necklaces, 500 Bracelets, and 500 Plastic Jewelry. Lark Books/Sterling Publishing Co.