Chelsea Couch (they/them) is an artist & educator and former co-executive and artistic director of Ditch Projects. Born in 1990, they received a BFA in Painting & Drawing from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an MFA in Studio Art from University of Oregon. They are currently based in Chattanooga, TN.
Chelsea Couch’s work is an inventory of the anxiety felt in contemporary Western society as a marginalized individual. Their practice takes stock of these experiences and in turn creates situational space for speculation. Working across Sculpture and Performance, they explore a materials- and object-based practice and enjoy crafting work that aggregates double entendre, innuendo, and non sequitur. Mutable materials create a throughline in their practice, considering both social and geologic timelines as inspired by their experiences as a trans person. Their work leans into the human desire for material seduction, poetic beauty, and being brought in on a joke. The driving force of their research is rooted in decolonization, post-gender embodiment, safety & security as related to late-stage capitalism and the anxious reality of the Anthropocene. Humor is an important way for them to engage self-care and audience consideration by creating punctuated space for emotional release—much in the way a comedian both creates and relieves tension. Currently, they are exploring themes, materials, and objects in reference to fragile masculinity and their gendered socialization in Southern Appalachia; through research into queer flagging, the work is conflating the language of trucks and transition.