Presentation Title

Trauma, Violence, and Aesthetic Representation: The Female Experience in Contemporary Culture and Contemporary Art

Faculty Mentor

Judit Hersko

Start Date

23-11-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 11:15 AM

Location

Arts 111

Session

oral 2

Type of Presentation

Visual and Performing Arts

Subject Area

creative_arts_design

Abstract

Visual art can represent phenomena that are unspeakable, and it can reveal and express hidden and uncomfortable truths related to experiences such as trauma and violence, rape and subjugation, birth and death. The purpose of this project is to examine the effects of trauma, particularly trauma that is linked to violence, and to investigate the ways that it is represented in visual art. Within the essay, I analyze the work of contemporary female artists Niki de St. Phalle, Doris Salcedo, and Kara Walker as well as my own work. Selected pieces, which reference experiences of physical and sexual violence, or traumas associated with cultural and racial identities are discussed. In addition, the context of such artwork within the larger visual culture is examined. I have undertaken this research in order to inform my long-term project, Undines at the Salton Sea. Within this body of work, I utilize the landscape and ecosystems of the Salton Sea and environs to examine themes which include trauma associated with violence, and systemic cycles of birth/renewal and death/destruction. The continued violation of the Salton Sea landscape through disastrous human intervention, and the accelerated and erratic cycles of renewal and destruction within the ecosystems at this site, function as metaphor for my own experience of trauma associated with interpersonal violence. The work is installation based and contains many components including objects and specimens that are sourced from the site itself. It also encompasses documentation of the site through digital imagery and written narratives. The primary element of these installations are figurative fragments made from clay and shore debris that suggest violence. For me, this body of work is intensely personal while it is also informed by the research I have engaged in and by the work of the artists that I discuss in my paper.

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Nov 23rd, 11:00 AM Nov 23rd, 11:15 AM

Trauma, Violence, and Aesthetic Representation: The Female Experience in Contemporary Culture and Contemporary Art

Arts 111

Visual art can represent phenomena that are unspeakable, and it can reveal and express hidden and uncomfortable truths related to experiences such as trauma and violence, rape and subjugation, birth and death. The purpose of this project is to examine the effects of trauma, particularly trauma that is linked to violence, and to investigate the ways that it is represented in visual art. Within the essay, I analyze the work of contemporary female artists Niki de St. Phalle, Doris Salcedo, and Kara Walker as well as my own work. Selected pieces, which reference experiences of physical and sexual violence, or traumas associated with cultural and racial identities are discussed. In addition, the context of such artwork within the larger visual culture is examined. I have undertaken this research in order to inform my long-term project, Undines at the Salton Sea. Within this body of work, I utilize the landscape and ecosystems of the Salton Sea and environs to examine themes which include trauma associated with violence, and systemic cycles of birth/renewal and death/destruction. The continued violation of the Salton Sea landscape through disastrous human intervention, and the accelerated and erratic cycles of renewal and destruction within the ecosystems at this site, function as metaphor for my own experience of trauma associated with interpersonal violence. The work is installation based and contains many components including objects and specimens that are sourced from the site itself. It also encompasses documentation of the site through digital imagery and written narratives. The primary element of these installations are figurative fragments made from clay and shore debris that suggest violence. For me, this body of work is intensely personal while it is also informed by the research I have engaged in and by the work of the artists that I discuss in my paper.