McKenna Quandt

Class of 2022
Sculpture

Website: mckennaquandt.com
Instagram: @mckennaquandtart

Conversations are challenging, but even more challenging when trying to manifest ourselves to people who hold our essence as leverage. In response, I use explore performance and language centered around the body and activation of movement. The changing movement emerges from a learned, repetitive structure of competitive dance that incorporates uniformity, alignment, and power. Because I have spoken this dance language since I was three years old, body movement is familiar to me. Unfortunately, team dance and having to be perfect has forced me to look like everyone else and has limited me to move freely. This frustration connects back to the pressure and expectation to be something that I am not, an artificial mover. Improvisation is difficult when I have been indoctrinated into structure and systems of team performance and competition. As an artist, I am trying to merge expressive improvisation via making and moving from my dance knowledge and background. I consider the body to be an art form and an expressive way to communicate and that has been shaped by my experience as a dancer and artist. The physical endurance of the body and the moments of training and appearance are the focus. In the work, the visuals are represented through dance culture visuals and the appearance and repetitive action of putting on a face. There is pride, pain, and love threaded through the work. Through the forced requirements of always having to be perfect to feel accepted and pretending to be seen leaves me with no release, only control. The source of the requirements come from internalized conversations and social expectations. The release and control live within me and fluctuate as I try to understand how to live within a world beyond control. I don’t have to compete anymore so what is next? The expectation is to be the best, and it is a repetitive cycle. My work questions internally and externally the motivation of my achievements. I carry and shift this weight with me every day as it is created within the visual symbols of my work. Why do I seek the approval of others so much more than trusting in myself? The feeling of being pressured and manipulated never go away. Neither does the external noise of demanding conversations, telling me it’s not good enough. I am completely exhausted. I want to ask you a question. Will you listen to me?