Le Mile Magazine: Some mad, mad Harmony

From Fukushima soil to the comfort of grass, Fawn Rogers situates the sustained violence against the environment and each other within the tragicomic cycles of desire and death.
Colter Ruland, Le Mile Magazine, 12 Oct 2023

I’m re-reading Água Viva early in the morning before starting my day speaking with artist Fawn Rogers. It’s a slender book by Ukrainian- born, Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, whose prose I turn to when I need help articulating the nonverbal realms of time, life, and creation. In the early pages, she writes: “Nature is enveloping: it entangles me entirely and is sexually alive, just that: alive. I too am ferociously alive — and I lick my snout like a tiger who has just devoured a deer.”

 

As I drive across Los Angeles to Rogers’s studio, inching through gas- guzzling traffic and dodging the occasional roadkill within the immense concrete sprawl, I think about the forest she grew up in and the desert I come from. Nowadays it feels like one rarely encounters nature so alive.

 

While there are ecofeminist artists addressing the intersection of human rights and environmental issues, Rogers charges such explorations in a dynamic and broad practice comprising installation, painting, sculpture, neon, and video. Her work, often laced with sexuality and dark humor, is ferociously alive in its examination of power and how humanity extracts horrific concessions from the ecological world in order to satiate its own pleasure. “I’m not interested in immortality,” Rogers tells me. “I’m more affected by what it means if we destroy everything, and what it means now that we have effected change we can no longer reverse.”

 

Rogers’s work is remarkable for its ability to distill sometimes apoca- lyptic, sometimes common figures or well-researched information into images and objects that bristle with razor-like wit. Oysters that look like desecrated yet venerated pussies, car hoods taken from real auto accidents turned into gleaming slabs of meat on butcher hooks, pillars of resin that look like natural column formations and contain everything from contaminated soil to teeth whitener to sleeping pills, amongst a catalog of other surprising heirlooms.

 

“I wouldn’t say I have more empathy for animals and the unbuilt world than I do humanity,” says Rogers. “But I have found myself harboring aggression towards humanity’s shenanigans and all the suffering we create for all other sentient beings, including ourselves.”

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