Full Artist's statement
Biological Tapestries – Self Portrait Sculpted Photos –
Biological Tapestries is a visual reflection of the competing elements of genetics, the microbiological world, human intervention through medical care, and appeals to the divine which all have a stake in determining the outcome of patients in critical care units.
As a critical care registered nurse I desired to become emotionally porous. I sought for the impersonal experiences of patients and families to become personal and intimate. This resulted in distilling untested qualities of my character and further illuminating areas of my identity.
By sculpting my body with repetitive cellular cuts I make visible these unseen competing elements, creating textures and movement that mirror the internal transformations of the patients, the individuals who were emotionally invested in these patients, and myself.
I aim for this work to show the power of freedom within boundaries, and to question to what lengths are we willing to lay aside our pride, comfort, and fear to make room for empathy, within intimate and larger social contexts.
Hidden from eyes, and below the surface of skin, our cells, organs, and body systems teeter between stability and instability. We can identify the disruption that has upset the balance through the use of various lenses. We can restore the balance by altering the anatomy through the use of surgical incisions.
Hidden within a single sheet of white paper, lies its dynamics of life. With a blade, I play with its vulnerable construction; and through the surgical process, bring out its fragile, astonishing attributes.
Through a myriad of precise cuts, I carve, fold, and sculpt the paper, giving it new form that visually combines the aesthetics of drawing, sculpture, etching, embroidery and fabric. I developed this technique by regarding the blade as a pen.
I realized the blade was multifaceted and able to act on the unseen anatomy within a sheet of paper to create a new anatomy, multidimensional and intricate, best revealed by the use of light.
This approach stems from my nursing experience in caring for critically ill patients and their family members. In the Intensive Care Unit setting, I witnessed how tragedy and uncertainty brings about a sudden transparency and vulnerability between the patient, family members, and caregivers. This experience gave me a vivid awareness of the thin line between living and dying. As a result, transparency and vulnerability became an urgent matter. By removing layers of fear, guilt, and shame that disrupts equilibrium and interferes with growth; and by cultivating meaningful relationships, I hope to encourage others to do the same. Like my interaction with paper, the exchange between vulnerable subjects is fragile, mysterious, and beautiful.