Stephanie Elyse Sherman

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a story of sacrifice // san diego, ca // writer // january 2014

In September 2013, Ava Porter, a devoted omivore, set out to explore the visceral and visual impact of slaughtering a mammal for food. Having never before killed an animal, Porter spent two weeks on Cho Ku Rei Ranch in Crestone, CO, learning from the ranchers how to slaughter and gut a lamb, scrape its hide, butcher the carcass, and finally host a dinner of the meat with everyone involved. Four paintings made with the lambs body remains and two videos visualize our contemporary alienation from this fundamental human ritual in the contemporary age.

I collaborated with Ava to write the Slaughter story as a tertiary component of the exhibition. The story narrates the intimate process of Ava’s performance of this event, exploring her encounters with body materials and the aesthetics of sacrifice, tracing the cycles of life and death she engaged in service of sustenance.