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Artist Statement

When contemplating the life of my late father, I imagine myself in an auto salvage yard sifting through the wrecked or totaled cars he used to drive, probing them for traces of him. After my father died in a car accident, as his sole beneficiary, I inherited everything he had, including a classic car that does not run. Within an artist book, I am chronicling my pursuit of my father through these items and the cars that he travelled in. With myself as the narrator, I am retelling his story while recounting the cross-continental road trip I embarked on to the multiple places he lived throughout his life. Along with this project, I am sculpting flawed effigies of components from his vehicles. I use materials reminiscent of labor and craft, like sewn blue jeans and carved wood, to explore the deep complexity of existence because, like automobiles, there are multiple parts that contribute to functionality.

Throughout his life, the cars my father drove symbolized pivotal moments that altered his path. They have become the vessels through which I have tried to understand him – not just as my father but as a person containing multiple facets of human character, both good and bad. Within the life of my dad, there was a roughhewn vernacular that spoke of blue-collar labor, crisis, loss, and individuality. These aspects relate to the craft of car restoration and rural human geography in a world that is increasingly losing its accessibility to tactile pursuits due to advances in technology. Because my drive to understand my father is now interwoven in his own narrative, larger questions are raised in my work regarding how we relate to one another, how we exist in the world, what inheritance means, and what happens to memory.

Instagram: @belseycheckers

Website: chelseybecker.com

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Artwork by Chelsey Becker - School Photos of Keith
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Digital photograph collage, 2020
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Artwork by Chelsey Becker - Reckon and Lament
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Bleached blue jeans, metal frame, polyester filling, 2019
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Artwork by Chelsey Becker - Inherited Objects
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Digital photograph montage, 2020
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Artwork by Chelsey Becker - Unmoored Engines
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Digital photograph, 2019
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Artwork by Chelsey Becker - Narrative Triptych: Exist in the Valley
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Embroidered cardboard, 2019