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the first moment of consciousness

(2018)

“Re-vision – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction – is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves.”

--Adrienne Rich

 

The ladder leads us to the water, at the bottom of the water lies the wreck. The wreck has been hidden. The wreck belongs to each of us and all of us. To get to the wreck we must dive into the water. The water drenches us. The drenched body is heavy. The drenched body is clean. This is a map to the wreck, this is a map of parts of the wreck’s interior. This is what has been dredged up, salvaged, polished and unpolished, revealed and obscured, celebrated and grieved. This is one image of the wreck, my image of the wreck. How the wreck is fragmented, durational, murky.

 

This work is a visual essay that wrestles with questions of time, memory, change and grief personally and politically. It is a way of weaving my influences together, and of pointing viewers towards the worlds, both real and imagined, they describe. The images are each representative of a particular narrative or concept, such as gravity, age, or gathering. Throughout the work there are excerpts lifted from various texts, foremost works by Adrienne Rich, Gertrude Stein, and Audre Lorde. I look towards these queer women because their writing and lives reflect deep investment in equality and justice. I believe texts can serve as tools for processing, investigation and divination--tools to aid and guide--and these women have done that for me.

 

I invite the viewer to move through the drawn panels and investigate the multiplicity of the vantage points therein. This multiplicity is echoed not only in the images and ideas placed in conversation on the panels, but also the various materials with which each panel is constructed. The panels are worked with graphite, colored pencil, printmaking, and collage on surfaces of tracing paper, Chinese mulberry paper, and thick cream colored paper, creating a landscape of textures and thicknesses. The wide variety of materials mirrors the diversity of weight and textures of our experiences. The height of the panels, as well as the cut-outs and their arrangement, give each viewer access to the work particular to their own height and how they choose to engage with the installation.  Each paper panel converses with the others to create connections, refractions, and reflections across time, space and theme.