Lesley Silvia LRVS MFA Thesis 2016

My work bears witness to the results of contemporary hysteria, specifically the ways in which mental illness complicates communication and creates dysfunction in human connections. That’s Hysterical facilitates a conversation about marginalization and the resulting terror related to power. I believe deep down you are a caring person and don’t want to bully others. Right? I use plaster sculptures of animals. Because animals are easier to look at when we’re staring into a mirror. Show the officer on the doll where the bad man touched you. Animals also boil down human characteristics cleanly. Lastly, animals pull at Western heart strings in a way that is pure when compared to the complications of human relationships. A lot of people have Mom Issues. Few people have Dog Issues. Your dog never drank too much or said you weren’t as talented as your sister.

I am influenced by news stories, op-ed articles, or observations in friends’ behavior, stereotypes, power struggles, relationship hurdles, and the existential exploration of the self. I take advantage of color, tactile sensations, movement, and installation aspects to welcome you into my work. But upon closer inspection you’ll notice the contradictions. It’s probably going to upset you. But that’s the point. This is upsetting stuff I’m talking about. The resulting uncanny, absurdist mess is intended to stay with you.

I want attract a curious viewer. One symptom of depression that sufferers feel is the recurring thought that no one else in the world feels as they do. Through my art practice, I seek first to give voice to myself. In opening up to you, I suspect you will find things you can relate to. If you have suffered in some way, you are not alone. Hysteria exists. Biases need not. We’ll get through this together. My art serves to open up the conversation about the human embodiment of identity; through trauma, privilege, power, and manipulation how is our identity even formed?

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MFA in Visual Studies Thesis Works