Portfolios > Hercules' in Suburbia: New Labors as a Middle Aged Man.

The smell of spring mulch heavily applied to regulate flower beds in their carefully curated rectangles and semi-circles, summer sounds of mowers and edge-trimmers that ensure manicured lawns, and the splashing and screeching emerging from backyard pools, define most of the American suburban living. In her book, Lure of the Local: Sense of Place in a Multi-centered Society, Lucy Lippard speaks of places as hybrids of knowledges and experiences that are both visible and invisible to the exterior: “By entering that hybrid, we change it; and in each situation, we may play a different role.” How does one recognize the impact they have upon entering an existing space while also acknowledging one’s self-transformation through the process? What does placemaking mean as one navigates the relationship between the interior - the invisible – and the exterior – the visible? These are questions I considered as I began a series investigating the binary oppositions of Interior/Exterior and Absence/Presence, while at the same time beginning a series inspired by the 12 labors of Hercules in an attempt to interrogate the disciplined tasks of the suburban homeowner as a cultural staple of the American middle-class. Specifically, I foreground my own experience moving to the suburbs in Fall of 2019 as a middle-aged white man, and I portray myself as an aging Hercules engaged in daily chores. While my drawings are meant to ridicule the implied heroism of the mundane, yet sustained activities, they also interrogate my own role in maintaining suburbia’s protocols as I critically reflect on the invisible stories that often reveal economic and social strains on the middle class in America.