Trauma and Recovery in Art

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Leonardo DiVinci's figure drawings and anatomical sketches interest me. His exploration of ideas and exhausting research inspired my practice. As I have continued with my own exploration, I have expanded my research to include ideas from philosophy and science as well as art. The contemporary philosopher, Susan J. Brison has been a great influence in my practice. One quote that has inspired much of my work comes from her book, Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self. She said, “We are our molecules; our deepest fears, joys, and desires are embodied in the chemical signals of our neurotransmitters. But we are also creators of meaning, making up- and made out of- our histories, our idiosyncrasies, our crazy plot-lines, our unpredictable outcomes. How are we to make sense of the fact that we are both?”1 It is that question that I try to explore in my work. Recently, I have been exploring Francisco J. Varela's ideas of the portable laboratory. He said, “Human beings in their embedded, situated life, constitute a de facto topographical place (the body, the self) where procedures and gestures can be carried out to directly explore the human experience itself (the quest).”2 In my practice, I seek to explore both the physical and psychological aspects trauma and healing. I look to other artists for inspiration and affirmation in regards to my work. I am certainly not the first artist to portray ideas of the body and its fragility. Hannah Wilke, whose work dealt with ideas of beauty and vulnerability, is perhaps one of more influential artists for me. While her work greatly differs from mine, I believe that fundamentally she was asking similar questions of society through her work as I am. When I first saw her work, I felt f... ... middle of paper ... ...or or exterior? This dichotomy correlates to idea of separation, or even conflict, between mind and body. Are the two separate, or are they symbiotic, and entirely dependent on each other? Just as some people believe that meditation can clarify or synchronize the mind and body, my work is a process that symbolically expresses trauma, disease, and death, beyond what is apparent from a physical body, bringing about a similar synchronization. Works Cited Brison, Susan J. Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2002. Obrist, Hans-Ulrich, and Elfasson Olafur. Experiment Marathon. Reykjavik Art Museum, 2014. Robertson, Jean, and Craig McDaniel. Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980. New York:, Oxford UP, 2013. Scarry, Elaine. The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

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