Where Misery is Manufactured (2020) part of the series titled Stomacherrr (2020) Cotton embroidery on cotton canvas.
Twenty Distempers (2020) part of the series titled Stomacherrr (2020) Cotton embroidery and lacquered senna pods on watered silk.
This pair of embroidered panels, fashioned after the 18th century garment called a stomacher, are an examination of the use of plant-based laxatives within Western medicine and culture. In particular, they chart the rise of (unregulated) medicinal advertising from the 16th to the early twentieth century. Often these laxative advertisements made outlandish and wide-reaching claims, or used body horror, false science and the mistaken belief in autointoxication-the myth of being poisoned by constipation-to appeal to customers. The legacy of this aggressive marketing is still felt in a widespread overuse, misuse, and abuse of laxatives. For five years I abused laxatives to the point where I almost died. The laxative I used markets itself as Gentle and Dependable, and its plant-based origin is cited as evidence that it is innocuous, belying the fact that plants can be aggressively toxic. The embroidered texts are direct citations from a number of advertising sources from the 16th century to today.