In 2022, Colwell visited the site of the former US Confederate colony, Carlota, in Paraje Nuevo, Veracruz, Mexico.  While she did find a few vestiges of the former settlement, she was more taken by the similarity between the site’s landscape and vegetation to the landscape of the American South. 

In particular, the sugar cane fields, the swaying Spanish moss, enormous trees and ever-present ball moss, elements that are symbolic of a carefully cultivated romanticization of the land, which furthermore, parallels the romanticization of  colonial history in the American South.  This sentimental perspective is epitomized by how, in both the South and Veracruz, the vegetation suffocates all vestiges of  the past smothering ugly histories as moss covers a tree.

For Colwell’s sculptural installation  “without shadow of sympathy”, she intricately recreates a telephone line inundated with brass replicas of Spanish moss and ball moss. The pieces are made of tediously cut, formed, and hand soldered brass which are meant to be a shining, swaying, emblem of the Southern landscape. From afar you don’t notice the tiny surgical blades peeking out from beneath the flower petals, signaling the  harm and violence done by this romantic view of the South and the sentimentality cultivated around the southern landscape.

The title is taken from a U.S. Congressional report from 1867 which details the demise of the Carlota colony.

“without shadow of sympathy”, 2023.

Thirty Brass Ball Moss sculptures and Spanish moss sculptures made from brass wire, brass sheet, brass chain, and surgical scalpels.

Dimensions variable.