Personal Statement & Key Points

Personal Statement

The focus of my work is to explore the often-misinterpreted impulse control disorder called Trichotillomania, whereby a person has the irresistible urge to pull hair out anywhere on the body. Through the use of scanography, sculpture and video I aim to produce the closest representation of my own personal experience, while at the same time expressing emotions that have more general currency with any audience. My most recent work shows the conflict between appreciation and frustration from what my hands are capable of and the behavioural stages of impulsivity while exploring visuals, sounds and feelings that can cause relaxation.

Professional Website

www.rachelannesmyth.com 

Documentation

1. Jar of Hair made me realise that i don’t want to use hair in my artwork anymore because it’s too specific.

2. Sponges were used to replicate the sounds heard when brushing hair in order to avoid the impulse when recording.

3. Cling film  was the first material i used to extend the tension within my hands.

4. Movement to the scans made the hand gestures become unnatural and disturbing.

5. SAAVE is a project that allowed me to adapt my work to raise the awareness of mental health in general by reaching out to a wider audience.

Contextualisation

1. Beckie J Brown was one of the first artists to influence the exploration of Trichtillomania within my artwork.

2. Wave // David Altmejd gave me ideas on how to develop my hand casts and the different ways i can show the damage each hand gesture can make.

3. Give or Take // Louise Bourgeois make me think about the conflict between feeling appreciation and hatred for what my hands are capable of.

4. Knitting Noodles // Cynthia D Suwito led me to question the importance of patience and mundane activities, especially when recovering from poor mental health.

5. Shore Scene // Cevdet Erek reminded me of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos and made me question whether to start recording the process of my pieces and consider live performance.

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Sound box

I made a small box to house an iPod and drilled a hole to attach a pair of headphones, it’ll be placed alongside the prints and play the sounds of the materials used in the scans as well as a sponge to replicate playing with hair and the popping sounds of bubble wrap with the aim to induce ASMR and relaxation.

My only concern is that i will be overcrowding my space and the sound might clash with the other pieces. If I had two separate spaces or a straight wall instead of an L shape, i would’ve definitely displayed the sound alongside the scans.

Edit and reprint

For some reason, probably due to accidentally choosing the wrong scanner settings, a few of the images are of lower quality in comparison to the others. This wasn’t noticeable until the images were blown up to A2 and printed for the show. With limited time left, i quickly decided to erase the large smudges and to sharpen the detail before reprinting. However, now the little specs of dust and hair are more prominent and i’ll have to make a decision as to whether to have a low quality image, or an image that looks like it needs a dusting. To some extent the aesthetic flaws of using a scanner work to my advantage, there is only so much i can do to avoid my hair from appearing on scanner because it’s usually clinging onto my clothing throughout the day.

Support // Lorenzo Quinn

Venice-Biennale-Lorenzo-Quinn-2017-1170x780

The instillation of the monumental sculpture for the 2017 Venice Biennale has recently been finished. The piece consists of two giant hands stretched out from the water in order to support the hotel. It’s a visual statement against climate change and the rising sea levels that effect the city. It has influenced me to revisit making 3D forms of my hands after i’ve finished my degree, using a material other than plaster and clay. I would like to explore the scale of my work like i have done with the prints. I’m disappointed that i will not be attending this years Biennale because i’d love to see this piece of work in person.

Final Plan

I had originally planned on hanging my clay pieces but they are too fragile to risk displaying them on an unsteady wall. I compromised by placing them on a plinth in the middle of the floor which also used up the large space more effectively. Having more wall space available, i decided to also display prints with the possibility of sound to accompany them. Having several finished pieces, i am keeping my options open and can easily adapt them to the space provided.