Dysmorphia

MFA Thesis Defense 

Massachusetts College of Art and Design 

July 30 - August 3, 2017

 

Looking into a mirror triggers feelings of imperfection and inadequacy. I cringe at the subtle bulge at my waistline, the thickness of my upper arm, and the curves that I try to hide behind high-waisted jeans and loose fitting tops. My mothers' anxieties with body image and corporate media's narrow definition of beauty have weighed upon me since an early age. My mind is torn between the rational and irrational: on the one hand - there is an understanding and confidence in my body as a woman, and on the other - an irrational internal force that keeps me from accepting and loving myself.


My thesis work draws upon the relationship between my mother and myself and explores the intricacies and anxiety that accompany body dysmorphia and insecurity from parent to child. I present a collaborative performance with my mother and multimedia installation. Crumpled and tossed away, over time our distorted images oppress the light within the space, a metaphor for our spirit, hope, and confidence. The detritus of the performance is echoed complemented by video projection and sound. A secondary performance allows mother and daughter to, once again, reflect on these images, but now reconstruct the crumpled paper with care. Metaphors for both the spirit and the body, the images are worn and damaged, yet through this tender process of restoration, the images and performance present concepts of resilience and love. This work examines the phenomenological artificiality of the family portrait and presents an experience of self-destruction, and later, reflection. I aim to evoke feelings of inadequacy through the deconstruction of self-portraiture and juxtapose these with feelings of love and acceptance.