"On Becoming a Spider in Quarantine"
These video and photographic works are iterations of my ever-growing research project studying orb weaver spiders. Months of observational research, notes, drawings and photographs of these spiders have come to act as a guide for the way that I navigate quarantine and pandemic living in Los Angeles. The orb weaver has demonstrated how to create a safe space for the self in solitude, all the while living inside of a densely populated, always-bustling city. In an effort to visualize the way that spiderwebs have influenced my quarantine practice, I created a list. The list is as follows: “Things I Like About Spiders and Their Webs: made with care—premeditated; intricate and conclusive—beginning and an end; strong, intentional anchor points; soft, strong and also delicate; hidden in plain sight; unique style suited to each spider; a safe space that can be created with care, and taken down at the maker’s whim; web silk comes from the body and is recycled material; thoughtfulness is the instinct; and the creator has a safe space in the center for her body."
Audrey Densmore was born in 1994 in the San Fernando Valley. She earned her BFA at California Institute of the Arts, with a focus in puppetry and multimedia works. She began working with the historic Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Los Angeles in 2015, where she was trained in marionette puppetry. Densmore’s work is motivated by investigative observations of small moments in nature, solitude and human interactions. These elements all help her to look at connectedness: threads of meaning strung between people, objects and puppets. Twistable Crayola colored pencils, papier mâché and a magnifying glass are the tools for unraveling these threads of meaning, often manifesting into puppets: characters who can embody multitudes and are limited only by their own specific set of rules. Her work has found a home in the space between the cerebral conception of a puppet and its direct coexistence with people. Densmore’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions including the Hammer Museum (2018), Avenue 50 Studio (2019), and Chewing Foil (2020).
What does "For the Love of L.A." mean to you?
"For the Love of L.A." means an opportunity for me to connect with people and artists of Los Angeles at a time when connection has become profoundly limited. It allows the chance for my experience in L.A. during a pandemic to exist among the experience of so many others, weaving a unique and authentic thread among us all.
How does puppetry and movement inform your art practice?
My work is motivated by investigative observations of small moments in nature, solitude, and existence among others which depict connectedness and threads of meaning strung between people, objects and puppets. Twistable Crayola colored pencils, papier mâché and a magnifying glass are the tools for unraveling these threads of meaning, often manifesting into puppets: characters who can embody multitudes and are limited only by their own specific set of rules. My work has found a home in the space between the cerebral conception of a puppet and its direct coexistence with people.
How has this moment in time changed or influenced your work?
The need to isolate and huddle inward has demanded that I address my experiences, traumas and ideals directly, and that I create a space for them to live. This safe space, like the creator’s space in the center of a spiderweb, has allowed for me to organize and observe in full earnestness, acknowledging fear of a virus as a major component of this new life.
What projects do you have ahead of you?
I am gradually building out my cast of puppets, all components for artworks, scenes and short films touching on topics such as metamorphosis, shells and why we/creatures have them, and more.
What has most recently inspired you?
The rise in social justice efforts in Los Angeles has provided a beautiful and hopeful peek at the possibilities that can come from authenticity and consideration for others’ experiences. It is inspiring to see people wielding love as a tool for progress.