hidden // exposed

It is technically incorrect for me to have posted another // blog post without discussing the form and function of my art show in this textual art I have established, a process of illuminination through words. Busyness and the immediacy of my last post prevented this step until the present.

My art show  in mid-March was about the exploration of the concept of secrecy, in both a physical and verbal sense. 

I need to explain how this fits into the double slash textual art phenomenon I began operating under here at my blog almost exactly a year before my art show was hosted at the Kenderdine Art Gallery.

Even as a child, I journalled. I have hundreds of pages rescued from my high school notes where I wrote the contents of my mind. I have always been a writer, but I always found poetry and journalling to come much more easily to me than fiction. I began blogging in 2004, and since then I have become a prolific blogger, a part of both the social and intellectual spheres that blogging serves.

The doubleslash project began as an attempt to set some of my words apart as I set them apart in my own mind, to set aside my compulsive requirement to catalog my own life and introduce the other side of that coin to my blog, to address the substantial part of my personality that requires things and ideas and people and life to make logical sense. I generally find that over time, they do. My entire art practice while a student at the U of S was concerned with this theory, that anything in life can make sense, given the correct parameters of thought process.

The logical extension of my textual // to my practice of sculptural conceptual art, then, is no surprise. Like most female artists, my art explores relationship, and like most conceptual artists, it is a highly personal and at times egotistic affair.

My own deep soul exploration, as revealed in a lavish and extensive process of creating a physical object to house my handwritten secrets, became the thesis in my degree, and also a turning point in my life. The following is my statement. You can see photographs of the elements of my show by clicking here.


All aspects of human communication fascinate me, especially that which is not communicated: what is secret. My fascination with secrecy itself stems from having grown up in a household deeply affected by abuse - a place where terrible secrets were carefully guarded because of victim shame. This body of work is a response to that environment and also a catharsis allowing me to share my private self with anyone who enters the space and chooses to access my written secrets. Many of those are related to my family, and some have been locked away for over fifty years.

Voyeurism is another aspect of the human experience that intrigues me, and secrets inevitably invite it. The interactive component of this piece explores the human desire to expose scandals, horrors, bad news, and illicit information about strangers. It questions the legitimacy of our pursuit of private information from strangers, friends, and even family: what is completely personal for me is only news to the public. 

I have created a complex and fragile container and locked it up: but anyone who spends the time to find the right key can unlock and discover my secrets.  

This cabinet is a metaphor for my relationships and myself. The use of cedar as a container lends itself to the imagery of the domestic space. Women about to be married once received chests to hold heirlooms, and cedar was used as the material because the same chemical that makes it poisonous to cloth-damaging pests gives off a pleasant scent for people to enjoy. I have also incorporated hints of the Catholic confessional in the context of this symbolic sharing of negative secrets, where I divulge not only my own sin, but also the "sins of the fathers." The plexiglass boxes are symbolic of exposing oneself, and allow the viewer to experience the knowledge of exposed secrets even without reading the books, if they choose to refrain.

The two digital collages examine the complexities of the separation between love and fear which I have experienced in my family life. It is scientifically true that the endorphin release of the body is very similar for sexual love, emotional love, and fear. Whatever their physical relationship, they are polar concepts emotionally, and a complete separation exists between them. The heart is pictured exposed as both a symbol for love and a machine, functioning in both capacities to keep a person living.  The empty room is a distillation of the kind of fear, loneliness, and violence that is often hidden in domestic spaces, a place that is hidden away and that holds people hostage by their imagination of the greater evils to be found outside it. 

The double slash in the title represents complete separation as it is used in computer coding. In presenting my secrets I have created a complete separation of what was hidden and has now been exposed to public view. I also wished to illuminate the dichotomy of the two ideas and the division between people in valuing the exposed or the hidden. 

I believe strongly in the allure of artwork created through using the artistic process as a method of self-exposure and I place myself into the tradition of contemporary artists such as Sophie Calle and Tracey Emin who express the private and personal though controversial but evocative artwork. Like them, my personal artistic process has also developed primarily as a means of sharing intimately with the public through interactive, conceptual works like these. 

My interest in secrecy and voyeurism makes blogging the perfect entity for expression. LiveJournal especially has nearly unlimited levels of privacy that can be used, and I have had largely significant life events occur as a result of that process, which I employ fully, breaking down - someone hacking my private entries using my password or someone else's account, or my mislabeling a document that was supposed to be highly filtered and having a person stumble upon it, or leaving something unlocked inappropriately. There was a period where I had to re-evaluate the whole system of secrecy in the past few months. I have changed my attitude about it recently and as a result a lot more of my blogging has been entirely private.

This blog is like my show. Individual containers of meaning, secrets, moments, events. A history with only my own bias.

And so I continue with // this summer with new invigoration.

(1) - [The Beginning, the Story of Doubleslash] (2) - [The Dream] (3) - [Non-Existence] (4) - [Heterodox] (5) - [Forgotten] (6) - [Know Your Enemy] (7) - [Junkies] (8) - [Descent into Blindness] (9) - [Speaker for the Dead] (10) - [The System is Down] (11) - [Inequality] (12) – [Heterodox Revisited] (13) - [The Unsustainable] (14) - [All the Zeros in Zimbabwe] (15) - [Bullets] (16) - [Balancing Act 1 (Merely Players)] {hidden//exposed} (17) - [The Physical] (18) - [Saving Me]
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