Body As Container: An Exploration of the Sacred Through Material
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ABSTRACT Parallels can be drawn between sex, death, and spiritual communion. Their commonalty is a wholesale release of bodily possession. Both freeing and enslaving, such a release isn’t simply a lack of body-awareness, it is a personal offering of complete physical control. To release is to hemorrhage the lining between body and soul. Such a schism allows the eradication of personal identity and the reclamation of spirit. In this spectacle “we” are unified. “We” being defined as ourselves once compartmentalized into a body-defined humanity. The release of spiritual communion serves to sever our human barriers, creating the paradox of a full emptiness. My art making and process is a declaration of this philosophy. My work consists of bent sheet metal, charcoal drawings, and woven metal furniture. The animalistic, shamanistic, process of making these containers inhabits their being like an energetic residue. However, my work is also accompanied with an existential doubt manifesting itself as the antithesis of my own ideological conception of reality. My fears of body as singularly chemical, and of the loss of my identity through the loss of physical control, are not anti-productive to my craft, but are part of the reason for its making. My thesis also explores the fear of spiritual ecstasy as a chemical lie. This fear of spirit as hormone strongly weights my work in the figure. It also manifests itself in the idea of the body as container—and my obsession with the container as equal to the filling, or absence thereof. My charcoal drawings project subjects that are incomplete or physically mutilated and unsure of their existing ground. My metal sculptures are furniture-spaces for ritual, sacrifice, or baptism. They are places where a figural action has occurred or can occur. Although my art is about a fear of, and interest in, the nothingness of death and the shamanistic experience of process, it inevitably reinforces the “bodyliness” of worldly existence.