LIGHT SURVIVES - 2022
Exhibited at Gallery 23, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
LIGHT SURVIVES Exhibition Statement
Light Survives is the third exhibition in a series of works focusing on the voices of survivors of rape and abuse. This work includes mixed media portraits of survivors and allies painted on wood panels and passages written by survivors viewable only in augmented reality through the app Artivive. I empowered the survivors to select the photos I used as source material.
In the spring of 2017, I began reaching out online and in person to find survivors open to talking to me. Some people agreed to send me handwritten notes about their experiences. The passages included thoughts, poems, and descriptions of the assault that they had never shared previously. These people were strangers, acquaintances, close friends, and family. From the beginning, I have included survivors of multiple genders in each exhibition in this series.
The portraits in this larger body of work are of survivors and people who wish to stand up as allies for those who did not want their likeness depicted. While the number of people openly willing to identify as survivors has increased, many do not feel safe identifying as survivors daily. These portraits do not distinguish between who is and is not a survivor to offer privacy to those victimized. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) states that while one in six women have been harmed by sexual assault, all people are affected.
The portraits are created with care and intricacy to enhance their power and uplift survivors. Their words reflect their experiences and words of encouragement for the other survivors who may be viewing these works. Their words manifest as animations visible in virtual space. Using the medium of augmented reality adds a layer of interactivity and requires investment. Viewing them on the small scale of a phone or other portable device creates a sense of privacy and intimacy. This space reflects the hidden nature of survivorship, yet the willingness of the survivors to share their words and identities with those who believe them and may share the same experiences. Each virtual space includes portraits of survivors and allies from past exhibitions WITHSTAND and PRESSING.
Together, these works aim to empower survivors by participating in their production and sharing their words. Collectively, it confronts abusers and lifts the veil of invisibility from the experiences of survivors.
WITHSTAND - 2021
Exhibited at Contemporary at Blue Star, San Antonio, TX
PRESSING - 2018
Exhibited at Bolivar Art Gallery, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
PRESSING Exhibition Statement
Pressing focuses on the voices of survivors of rape and abuse. This body of work includes large-scale portraits of survivors and allies painted on used billboard vinyl, stenciled images of sexual predators, poetry reflecting the emotional trauma of assault, and 3D printed wall sculptures that are passages written by survivors. The survivors were empowered to select the photos that I used as source material. These portraits often depict a moment in which the person was feeling hopeful about the future. This work presents poetic narratives from survivors contrasted with muted images of abusers.
In the spring of 2017, I began reaching out online and in person to find survivors who would be open to talking to me. Some people agreed to send me handwritten text about their experiences. These included thoughts, poems, and descriptions of the assault that they had never shared previously. These people are strangers, acquaintances, close friends, and family.
The portraits are comprised of survivors and people who wish to stand up as allies for those who did not want their likeness depicted. Many people do not feel safe identifying as a survivor in public. These group portraits do not distinguish between who is and is not a survivor in order to offer privacy to those who have been victimized. Furthermore, it stresses that while RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) states that one in six women have been harmed by sexual assault, all people are affected.
Within the middle structure, the survivors and their allies stand in opposition to the images of sexual predators. The majority of the sexual predators presented were exposed as being perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment within the last year. The images of predators have been created with much less care and intricacy than the portraits of survivors. This hierarchy of value aims to diminish the power of perpetrators and enhance the power of survivors.
The text in this body of work is from the thoughts and experiences of survivors. Their words manifest as wall sculptures and painted poetry running along the floor on the outside of the enclosed space. Using the processes of 3D printing and laser cutting retains the fidelity of each person's handwriting. The handwriting becomes another portrait expressed through mathematical points, codes, and layers of PLA (polylactic acid filament). Each sculpture is hung at the approximate writing height of its corresponding survivor. These text portraits retain the humanity and physical presence of the individual. The subtlety of the forms gives the words a ghostly appearance, while still having a tangible, real presence.
The integration of billboard vinyl has several reasons behind it. The discarded billboard material is a stand-in for the human body. The annotations, dirt, folds, and tears become residue of their experience. Survivors carry their trauma with them the rest of their lives, even after healing. In the media and in marketing campaigns, sexual aggression is reinforced through debasement of the female form. The billboards have now been reclaimed by survivors. Together these works aim to empower survivors through their participation in its production. Collectively, it confronts abusers and lifts the veil of invisibility from the experiences of survivors.