Jessica Davenport

The installation/performance takes the loose structure of an Evangelical Sunday School children’s church space & service, complete with oversized puppets, songs, and Bible stories, as viewed through the fond and somewhat glowing yet fear-ridden lens of childhood memory. Surrounded by American Evangelical imagery and a collage of ephemera, viewers can take an active part in the event or objectively observe from inside or outside of the walls of the installation. They are also invited to add to the collaged walls, using materials at art-making stations in the space. They are joined in the space by an anonymous figure in white, a silent witness. The objects, sounds, and experience are familiar, yet unfamiliar, made new by a change of context and viewpoint. No doubt, many will find echos of their own experience with American church-life. I’m interested in these places of recognition and resonance, hoping to build a communal dialogue and new understanding of how our experiences have shaped who we are and how we have come to be at this strange juncture in history. Through close examination of my own Ex-vangelical origin story steeped in American Christian Fundamentalism, I endeavor to identify places in the narrative where the familiar and cherished have broken down, becoming polarized, extreme, and unrecognizable, with the hope of also invoking empathy across the divide. This project is next in a series of works entitled Noise Level, in which the enigmatic character <Figure A> is inserted, in an effort to make sense of the seemingly insensible.

Winter 2024