Aftereffects: An Exhibition Statement From Curator Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis
The artists in Aftereffects use physical, emotional, and psychological challenges as a platform to create arresting multimedia work. They examine the relationship between trauma and the body, expose the realities of Tourette syndrome, bipolar and eating disorders, and create safe havens for survivors of childhood abuse. From botanical paintings and digitally altered photographs to embroidery and Braille-inspired reliefs, the results are innovative, evocative, and introspective.
Themes of reckoning, resilience, and recovery weave through the exhibition. Chantal Elise’s charged painting “Manic Depression” and Madeline Brice’s cathartic “Crying Makes You Feel Better” are countered by Allison Bowman’s oasis-like “Spectrum” and Janna Avner’s “The Analysand’s Chair.” Mixed-media artists Brianna Harlan, Scout Patterson, and Jordan Molli share their journeys to depression and back. Employing a range of concepts, creative strategies, and techniques, the participants in Aftereffects reveal the layers of their physical, emotional, and neurological makeup through compelling identity-based work. View Aftereffects, then scroll down for details about the artists and their work.
Confronting the Self
Chantal Elise uses the traditional medium of watercolor to address identity and body image issues. Ally Zlatar describes her seductive longing to avoid putting on weight. Grace Papineau-Couture shares their battle with an eating disorder in a whimsical drawing of candy wrappers under their bed. Anna Wagner’s ceramic sculptures interpret the effects of Adderall on someone dealing with ADD/ADHD. Michael Lonchar unveils layers of the self to explore the neuro-aesthetic connections between emotions and art. Madeline Brice, Francena Ottney, and Olivia Mae Sinclair confront traumatic moments from the past through revealing self-portraits and installations.
Trauma and the Body
Jamie Rose’s emotive charcoal and ink drawing probes the aesthetic undercurrents of grief. Alissa Ohashi examines how trauma and survival tactics are passed down through generations. In her mixed-media collage “Voices,” Amy Dyck uses tension in the human body to illustrate its capacity for strength and transformation in the wake of traumatic events. Hayden Stern’s radiant portrait “Tending” expresses the strength and vulnerability of psychiatric survivors. In “Storied Bodies,” Gabriela Hirt responds to the murder of indigenous children while investigating themes of collective trauma and cultural indoctrination. Mickayel Thurin combines tufting and embroidery with paint to show what it feels like to have a panic attack.
Darkness and Light
Twin siblings riel and Bianca Sturchio investigate their “non-normative identities and health-related challenges” in the collaborative series “Chasing the Light.” Scout Patterson’s evocative sculpture of a kneeling figure surrounded by broken glass embodies her experience with loneliness and isolation. Tori St. Aubin's photograph "Haze" explores the aftereffects of depression and addiction. Renda Brooks' Braille-inspired relief focuses on touch as a mode of visual expression. Allison Bowman’s lush botanical painting is one of a series of “safe spaces” created as a refuge from depression. Jordan Molli’s “Permission” blends elements of contemporary culture with existential conflict and self-affirmation.
Healing and Reflection
Janna Avner’s “situational” painting invites reflection by subliminally placing the viewer in the frame. Amanda Lucek (aka Unicoherent) describes a painstaking recovery from a stroke in the cross stitch sampler “Irregular Alphabet Soup for the Soul.” Deming Harriman’s surreal collage “Masks V11” links the COVID-19 pandemic with health crises from centuries past. Pearlyn Tan’s “Siblings” depicts her sons’ intertwining needs. Kaitlyn Roberts' tiered installation "Countless" conveys the complexity of mental illness through layering and repetition. Dayi Novas’ Ouch is “a children’s magazine for adults who didn’t have a childhood.” Salma Vir-Banks’ serene self-portrait “Queen of Jupiter” celebrates her multi-year recovery from addiction.