AboutTepper’s work is informed by the lived experience of chronic illness. The forms and processes in 'Hysteric Signs' reimagine the grotesque body as a site of joy and whimsy. They formally delight in the messiness of sickness, and revel in disturbing the border between the body and its environment.
Initially, the large, clunky wall sculptures resemble the oversized road signs that loom over the American landscape. Like the architectural signs of strip malls and billboards, Tepper’s sculptures claim and mark space as frontal designs, with bold colors and graphic shapes related to painting. Upon closer inspection, they reveal a dizzying and layered sculptural language full of holes. The materials interweave, exposing an infrastructure of entangled networks, processes, and objects. Toilet plungers penetrate industrial felt shapes, eggshells protrude from poured latex pools, plastic thread spools plug surfaces of caulk and cloth, while wax clogs the pores of old, dirty bricks. As if there is something violent and insistent about their being, the works in 'Hysteric Signs' refuse to differentiate between internal and external.
The works are a synecdoche that privilege organs, objects, letters, and roads, creating interrelated parts for the interrelated whole. Tepper scrambles language, symbols, and gestures, and the resulting abstracted forms are multiple in their associations. Deliberately heavy-handed but equally playful, the works in 'Hysteric Signs' celebrate the irregular, nonsensical, unruly, raw, and screaming.