There is a tension between simile and metaphor, between body and mind, between memory and history. Or as the poet Wallace Stevens wrote, “… There is a war between the mind/And sky, between thought and day and night.” When I make images, I work to mine the distance between those tensions. Within the extremes there lies the possibility for radical acceptance, that sweet spot in which truth and its contradiction can coexist. I believe the struggle to find acceptance in the midst of tension is part of the universal human experience and it is fundamental to my artistic practice.
In A History of Violent Photography, I am investigating widely distributed photographs depicting violence and its aftermath, exploring how these images inform us about their history while continuing to generate new reactions.
The photographs included in this project are among some of the most famous and most violent images ever made. Many of them will be familiar, perhaps seen multiple times. The images are memorable for their historical significance, and the visceral effect their viewing has had on audiences. After looking these photographs, we, ourselves have memories of hopelessness and horror invoked by the suffering and devastation captured.
Formally, my process begins on the internet where I collect images culled from my own memory and found during my research. Each photograph is researched to better understand the people, events, and politics involved in the image, along with the photographer, along with public reaction to the work. The project includes edited images that I have created using digital editing software as well as poems I have written that discuss the details of the photograph and the difficulty in maintaining the integrity of the story (and history itself) as time passes.
The Face of Feminism Now
Moved by the extraordinary events of January 21, 2017 – the date of the global Women’s March – and my own experience at the march in Washington, DC., I embarked on a year-long project to begin a conversation with other Seacoast area feminists about the future of the movement. I presented each participant with a survey of four basic questions about their experiences as feminists and then sat down with each for an interview and photo shoot. The resulting images along with quotes from the participants themselves offer viewers a glimpse into the state of northern New England feminism today.
“I will try to explain the term ‘individuation’ as simply as possible. By it I mean the psychological process that makes of a human being an ‘individual’- a unique, indivisible unit or ‘whole man’.” - Carl Jung
Borrowing the language of Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, I have created a body of work that explores the construction of the integrated self, a process known as Individuation. Having suffered the unsettling states of mania and depression, as well as the altering effects of the medications used to treat my bipolar disorder, I embarked on a journey, through therapy, meditation, and art to discover my authentic self, distinct from illness and trauma. The work presented in Individuation can be grouped together into the four main themes associated with my continued recovery: psychiatric medications, talk therapy, self-care, and introspection.
If You Put a Bag Over His Head
What happens to men when women regard them as objects? Is it even possible for women to objectify men in a patriarchal society? Seeking answers to these questions, I placed an ad on Craigslist and invited men to my studio where I photographed them wearing bags of my creation on their heads. With their faces covered, I was able to look at them without their knowledge. They could hear the click of the camera but had no idea where it was focused. They were unable to hide from me or prepare for my gaze. This led to a palpable imbalance of power that often made me uncomfortable, but also gave me license to look freely. The resulting photographs are visual evidence of this power and its relationship to objectification.
These photographs have also been collected in an artist’s book which expands the conversation regarding power to include the abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib Prison.
Exquisite sensitivity or hyperarousal is a state of intense vigilance and anxiety. It is a survival adaptation developed by those who suffer from PTSD.
In this project, I resolve a series of questions drawn from my talk therapy sessions. A primary concern of my work in therapy has been reclaiming my experience of trauma. Exquisite Sensitivity is an artistic meditation on my process transforming this once, very necessary adaptation from a pathology to a superpower.
The work includes photographs, collage, and poetry.