February 2019, The Lawrence Alloway Gallery, Stony Brook, NY
Panoptes is a figure of greek mythology: a 100 eyed giant, an all seeing being. To be seen by him is to take on an ominous awareness of surveillance. This figure establishes a watcher and watched dynamic. Later, the Panopticon would be named after Panoptes. The Panopticon is a type of institutional building, a system of control, that was designed with a watchtower at the center and the inmate cells surrounding the tower, facing inward toward it. They could not see into the watchtower, therefore the idea was that the inmates are made to think that they are potentially always being surveilled and that this would be a cause for behavioral change. In an attempt to turn this idea inward, into the body of the individual, I’m framing an internal panopticon wherein—in place of the watchman—pain, and its potential to recur in the body, is that which is behind the watchtower glass. As it pertains to my lived experience, this Panoptic effect of pain’s potential presence in the body is that which has been and is a cause for behavioral change.
Furthermore, the materiality of the paintings aim to establish a contrast with regard to the temporality of the body. These larger-than-human-proportion scaled, dramatically contorted, somewhat abstract renderings of the body highlight its muscular activation and dimension. Additionally, the application of paint strives to hit a sculptural register as it speaks to the appearance of stone and references art historical renderings of the body from its representations in Classical Greek and Italian Renaissance periods. These elements of strength and hardness speak to the bodies potential for durability and solidity. On the other hand however, the materials themselves—watercolor paint, water, and cotton rag paper—reflect a delicacy and vulnerability. Furthermore, the painted bodies occasionally fade into the blankness of the paper, becoming the very negative space that the bodily forms are, in other sections of the composition, distinct from. It is with these aspects of a posited bodily hardness and fleetingness, that I argue that the body has equal potential for fragility, for ephemerality, in paradoxical contrast to the potential for the body’s strength, for permanency.