Inside-Out Anxieties

This series of woodblocks reflects and enhanced my understanding of my own emotional states. My works represent my emotional state through my physical state. I chose to exploit this relationship because the connection between mind and body interests me greatly. As an artist and worrywart, my body responds tangibly to fatigue, anger, sadness, and nervousness. I also respond strongly to certain colors, which I include in these works. My hope is that others will identify with and understand the same state, which I try to include via symbolism and strong visuals.

 

The laborious woodcut process forced me to respond thoughtfully to emotions. I also created pieces that force the viewer to look closely and perhaps sympathize; small scale and attention to detail and wood grain holds the viewer’s eyes.

I have represented here: Worry and nerves by a churning stomach; strength and weakness by whole and fragmented bones; sense of loss or dread by empty space or a split in the figure. Gesture and posture also play a role. While my red and black figure stands straight with clenched fists, my orange figure leans and puffs out her bloated belly in resignation. I worried that my figures were both too literal, by being whole figures, and too abstract, by representing exhaustion and nerves with a bloated female stomach that possibly references abortion rather than emotion. Therefore, my final woodcut zoomed in close and showed an x-ray view of my butterfly-filled belly when distressed and full of dread. I believe this piece is most successful.