Both Warm Pretense (1975) and Alchemy (1979) are metaphorical performances addressing the issues of false pretenses and self-destruction. In these studio works, a moth was released into a room with a single bare bulb, drawing the participant into a futile environment. Inspired by Shakespeare’s line the Merchant of Venice, “Thus hath the candle singed the moth,” these works spoke to irresistible and dangerous attractions that defy rational thinking..
The earlier work, Warm Pretense, placed viewers in a small room lined with cotton batting intended to comfort them while they observe the moth’s frenetic activity metaphorically epitomizing the futility of human emotion or reason. The moth and light bulb were located in an adjoining cage partitioned by a wire fence segregating the viewer from the moth. The viewer was thus a spectator observing the activity from the comfort and protection of his or her sanctum.