In my work I am interested in the relationship between the sad clown as an iconic figure and the abject nature of the body. Through painting, collage, objects, and video I express various representations of the human/clown body and identity. This is extended into my relationship with my alter ego Gurggles the Clown.
I align my work with that of abjection and surrealism. The content of my work exists in its own world, frequently looking out at the viewer. The dreamlike portraits and landscapes are a result of my unconscious creative practice, becoming a vessel for my mind’s surreal worlds.The abject and uncanny evident in my work are a result of my unconscious attraction to the abject from my rural upbringing and time spent in hospitals.
Clowns carry with them a complex history and the fear of them is rooted in a fear of that which is human-like. I am interested in how the traces of the clown body change the traces of a human body. The history of the clown and his shift from family entertainment to horror icon is where I find my focus. The rejection of the clown from appropriate society into an abject figure mirrors humans rejection of the body as an object when faced with the abject nature of having a body.
Physically, I criss-cross all mediums. Watercolor has a history related to pastoral or romantic landscapes and soft portraiture. It lends itself to the work with this inversion of its historical usage. The sculptural collage on some of my works is a way for works to enter into our 4D space. Magazine collage and its accessibility are prevalent as well. Found/altered objects allow for more of Gurggles space to enter into the art space. Video allows physical space between myself and Gurggles.
My work grapples with identity, the body and the collective consciousness I share with my persona Gurggles the Clown. I am interested in the hazy lines we cross and how those internalized traumas can leak out into the real world.
Sarah Kanninen is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on the Clown. Her work uses painting, collage, objects, and performance to delve into the psyche of her alternative persona Gurggles the Clown. Borrowing from the history of abject art and surrealism she creates paintings and objects of and for Gurggles while her video work aims to disrupt viewers preconceived ideas about the clown as a pop culture horror icon. She received her B.A. from Capital University in 2018 and looks forward to receiving her MFA from CCA in 2020.