Catharsis is an expansion upon my this condition of loneliness series involving the chair as a means of catharsis. For me, the chair evoked recognition of a past life I was attempting to move away from. Over time, I began to abuse and break the chair down into a nonfunctional object. I carved and scratched into it, broke its structural components, took away its full (but not unrecognizable) identity as a chair and in its place assigned it my own internal pain at the time. There is the absence of a physical body but the presence of the internal mind; existing as both object and portrait.
For the initial exploration of Catharsis, I invited people into my studio and asked them to bring an object that they felt connected to but able to alter in some way. I then had them put on music of their choice, and asked them to be in the moment and destroy/alter/use their object for any amount of time. During this process, I made still photos at 5 second intervals. Once the individual was finished altering their object, I asked them to write about their experience as I photographed the remains of their object before also making a formal portrait of the participant.
The project aimed at exploring portraiture of the mind in conjunction with portraiture of the physical body, and became a way of documenting a person's creative process and personal interpretation of catharsis. Here, titled by first name only, are the participants of Catharsis.
"Slipping in and out of the moment into the form / the camera touches me on the shoulder
I play, a return to past pleasures
I wanted to create an homage to an object; a bit of tree trunk from sacred place, I wrap my body with clay, filling the form with myself. My body a form to create another. At some point I thought also to wrap the yellow crescent, originally part of the altar; present to this process. It first became an offering, but needed to integrate to the main body. The offering became unneeded as the witness became one with the body."
Date: Sunday, November 11th
Start Time: 3:10pm
Music: Dolly Parton Radio
"I read my life in a timeline, chapters, and nostalgic themed sections. I have found that I often read the hardest times in my life more as milestones rather than the proud ones I have. I have dealt with a lot of mental health starting at a early age. Crippling anxiety, fallowed by eating disorders, and depression, I envy what I seem to have lack of control of. I find comfort in nostalgic ways of tangible forms of personal gestures and handmade paper has endless forms of possibility, what starts out blank, can be made into anything, drawn or written, its one of the most familiar materials of communication, we all need familiar one and a while..."
Date: Monday, October 22nd
Start Time: 5:30pm
"I was cutting up a cardboard box into blanks for my model making process. The action is mindless and repetitive but still productive which is calming in a way. I start the process by breaking down a box into its individual pannels and the square the edges by using the lines on the cutting board. Before I cut I clean off all the tape and stickers. THEN I start cutting one or two inch strips. In the end there are two piles, one of relatively uniform strips, and one of random scraps, tape, and miss-cuts."
Date: Monday, November 19th
Start Time: 8:00pm
Music: Billboard Playlist
"I decided on destroying a poem that came into my life at a time in my life when I was changing, growing, evolving... Not destroying it in the sense that I no longer want it in my life, but destroying it to mark an end to very special moment in time / period of my life. I've closed this chapter and will always look back on it as an instrumental point that has contributed to who I am today. More confident, self-assured, creative, introspective... Maybe I know a little bit more about who I am and what I want from life. Or maybe I don't... we'll see."
Date: Monday, December 3rd
Start Time: 4:55pm
Music: Rock Classics Radio
"It was cathartic - breaking a chair model I was going to put in the trash anyway but instead spending intentional time destroying & making a sculpture out of it felt purposeful. While doing it I was thinking about the time I spent designing it and making it, and how the work I make has an interesting way of coming full circle in usually unexpected ways I couldn't predict. It doesn't matter if I'm always proud of the end product as long as I'm always learning something from the process. This char model was a representation of my effort to understand something I was still very unclear about how to approach, and destroying it made me think about the preciousness I sometimes attach to the idea of a perfect end result, which can keep me from seeing the big picture."
Date: Saturday, December 8
Start Time: 5:30pm
Music: Titus Andronicus
"-Had a Day- website company did a no call - no show on my website meeting - then emailed me telling it was my fault, kitchen smelled horrible today - good news - someone wants to purchase a painting from me - 2:00pm now - (2:15) tore apart a chair - I always hated that chair."
Date: Friday, December 14
Start Time: 1:58pm
Music: "We're In This Together"
by Nine Inch Nails
"I've always been very attached to my hair and have had it define me for a large chunk of my life. The first time I cut it all off, I was 18. After that I learned to care less for its attachment to who I am. I change my hair frequently now, and I try not to treat it like something that is too precious. The bundles I used in this project were from the most recent time I cut off my hair in September. I asked my stylist to give me the hair, hoping I would use it for something, anything. Deep down, I feel like that means I'm still connected to my hair. I wanted to reduce the strands to the smallest size I possibly could, altering its appearance and texture in the process. By the time I was done, it didn't feel like it was a part of my body anymore. I feel like I've changed and grown a lot since I last cut my hair, and destroying these remnants helped me distance myself from a older version of myself in a way. It was mindless, cathartic, but also somewhat physically intensive. It reminded of sitting for extended periods of time in the salon chair while I had different hair treatments done to me. The only difference is that at the salon, I was able to walk away with my hair a quantifiable and qualitatively different state that I had pleasure in keeping, sustaining and showing off. This process also destroyed my scissors. The more I cut into my hair, the more blunt the blade started to feel. I feel like my hair and the scissors where fighting and resting each other at once point, and my hands had to mediate that conflict. In the end, it's nice to feel like I have less weight attached to my body and my identity."
Date: Sunday, December 16
Start Time: 3:17pm
Music: Fall Playlist
"This was hard and emotional for me. To pull out the chair that started this project, that I had abused and beaten and destroyed almost exactly a year ago. A chair that I associated with myself, more specifically the "broken" part of me. The part that even I couldn't love at the time, so how could anyone else? I gave it my feelings, my insecurities, my pain. I hurt it the way I was hurting, to show how I was hurting. And since then, I still hurt. A lot. I've gone through another transition, another depressive episode and trying so hard to show myself - my "broken" self - some compassion. To be the one picking up my pieces and doing the best I can. And so, as a stand-in of myself, I physically mended this chair the haphazard way I knew how, the best way I knew how. Pink, fleshy yarn, pink foam (my favorite color for vulnerability) green tape (almost a compliment to the pink) about rebirth? Or just the vibrant eye-catch. I'm not trying to hide the bandages that cover scars. I'm not trying to pretend nothing happened. I am showing my pain, showing my attempt to heal and the struggle that comes with it. I changed some of the words, added new phrases. Hid the old pains, attacks, that were too much. But not all of them. Not all the scars get covered, not all of them can be. Healing is a lifelong process. It takes time. And much like the chair, my scars are still visible. My pain is still here. Some, I still can't talk about. All still hurt. All take a toll to face. Hense the crying as I patched this chair, as I attempted to show it the compassion I work to show myself. I let go of the fear of acknowledging the pain. I let it come, I saw it for what it was, and I told it it's okay."
Date: Sunday, December 16
Start Time: 8:00pm
Music: Too Many Questions Playlist