Play Hard or Go Home is a large-scale installation of over 1,600 books and family memories by Los Angeles based artist Chrystal McConnell. McConnell created the work to help her better understand her own life experiences and what she calls a “daunting childhood” that “held unresolved issues” for her. The installation is a possible answer to her question of what her artwork is really about, and how can she express that message. For McConnell the message was best shared in the form of an interactive self-portrait installation. “For years, I had been trying to express feelings of vulnerability, abandonment, abuse, and manipulation using other mediums, and in other various ways.” McConnell uses found objects, discarded and abandoned materials from antique stores, thrift stores, used book sales, and library sales. These once discarded objects reflect her own historical foundation of abandonment and unresolved issues. To share her story with the audience McConnell chooses to disclose her feelings and history in the form of a game, “This allows me to reveal my true feelings through text and image, instead of through spoken word. And only the astute reader will discover the truth when they take the time to figure out the ‘game.’”
Opening reception May 30, 6-8 p.m., Installation on display through August 31.