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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Support // Lorenzo Quinn

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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.

Shore Scene Soundtrack // Cevdet Erek

The Shore Scene Soundtrack is based on a simple idea where Erek runs his hands over a carpet to imitate the sound of the seaside based on the recording in his memory, the same carpet is used in an exhibition whereby the viewers are invited to touch the carpet for to experience it for themselves. He also displays a book with information and instructions on how to achieve certain sounds.

sss book

 

Untitled // Vadim Stein

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In this image by Vader Stein, the material almost acts as a second skin and where the material stretches seems to create tension. I find it interesting that the parts of the body that aren’t covered are known to be the most expressive. The hand positions seem to be contradicting each other, one in despair and one providing support. The piece has influenced me to explore materials that could mimic a second skin and to use conflicting hand gestures in my own artwork.

Anywhen // Philippe Parreno

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When visiting the Tate, the turbine hall had been transformed into an immersive experience that challenged my perception of time and space. I was invited to get a blanket and lay on the floor to experience the stimulation of a variety of senses with the use of acoustics, sound lighting, flying objects and film. Anywhen is a constantly changing exhibition that will evolve over a six month period. The sequences were triggered by software informed by micro organisms that react to the elements through a bioreactor situated at the back of the hall. I found that this was an interesting setup that challenged the use of the exhibition space and i has influenced me to explore expressing emotions that i’ve experienced through a variety of sensations.

Self-Portrait (Hands Spread on Knees) // John Coplan

Self-Portrait (Hands Spread on Knees) 1985 by John Coplans 1920-2003

Since 1984, the subject of Coplans work has been his own body, focusing on individual parts such as hands and feet but excluding his face. He thought of the body as being able to express a language originating in a collective unconscious; universal, primordial and direct. The photographs are often cropped, drastically enlarged and close-up with a sense of familiarity as well as ambiguity. Coplan avoids posing with recognised symbolic gestures which is something i have struggled to do within my own practice. I often attempt to capture gestures unique to the experience of a mental health condition yet sometimes analysed as something entirely different. I am no stranger to cropped and close-up images but i plan on experimenting with the scale of my prints.

The Secret World of Foley // Third Man Films

I stumbled upon ‘The Secret World Of Foley’ documented by Third Man Films after researching the ways in which i can reduce background noise. I currently have no access to a sound proof room in order to record subtle sounds with a high quality microphone. My only option is to explore using different materials that mimic the sounds in my videos at early hours in the morning, a time in which there is minimal sound due to everyone being asleep.