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Statement for Fixation Vocalization Series

The mouth is a dominant symbol in my work. In my “Fixation Vocalization” series I am embracing the

mouth’s function as a communicator and an expeller of waste (be it a fluid waste or audible waste). These mouths

are gaping, yelling and talking all at once. The overlapping and layering of fiber, ceramic, paint, prints and sound

elements are creating a fight for dominance in the conversation. The variation in the depth of the panels, the way

they are clustered together, and the soft and hard sculptural mouths protruding into the viewer’s space are all

meant to enhance this feeling.

My use of garish colors creates a grotesque and overwhelming visual that is still pleasing enough to the

eye that you want to investigate further into the subtle textures and hidden imagery. The mouths I depict have

large lips that are bulbous and lumpy and they are filled with imperfect teeth. Their crooked and stained teeth

give them an element of realism, but the way they are sewn, embroidered, or built out of clay gives them a

playfully grotesque nature.

With all of these elements converging, the viewer is confronted with a wall of cacophony. Depending on

the viewer, they will either be put off by the conversation or they will try to engage with it. However, it is too

visually loud and too audibly unintelligible to successfully join in the conversation, and thus the viewer is alienated.

The disembodied mouths are challenging you to see if you can decipher the noise and contribute to the dialogue.

My artwork highlights the discomfort created by being unable to fit in.

​© Madison Cowles Serna 2010-2020. All Rights Reserved.

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