On view as part of 2018 MFA THESIS EXHIBITIONS
March 4 – April 6, 2018
The Art Gallery at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
SECONDHAND SMOKE by Terra Keck
My work explores how images have historically informed female identity, affected women’s sense of self and body, and lead to the encouragement of violence against women. I am interested in how the patriarchal ideals perpetuated by these images have been rebranded to fit each new contemporary context they are found in, and the unique ways today’s young women are meeting them. My research filters these conceptual inquires through the internet phenomenon of the “Tumblr Girl” who exists digitally as a contextually shifting internet persona organized and projected through the social media website, Tumblr. My interest in this stems from my own immersion in “Tumblr Girl” culture, and my experience with the “glitter-mouthed” poisonous imagery regurgitated by their (our) blogs. In this way, my inquiry into historical images of women, neoliberal pseudo-feminism, and the “Tumblr Girl” is a revealing critique of my own assumptions of gender performance, and my role in the survival of these toxic patriarchal expectations.
My artistic research peels back the ostensibly endless layers of skin that have been built upon one another to cover the rot of society’s permissioned violence against women, but doing so through my own experience, with my own skin, my own body, and my own rot. My art practice combines printmaking, drawing and installation to generate a psychological context for the images I create, and to make space for an empathetic and reflective experience between the viewer and myself.
All events are free and open to the public.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 9, 11:00 a.m.
My installation consists of two adjacent rooms, with the second room only accessible by traversing the first. The walls of each room are covered with wallpaper, the first room being green and the second room being pink. The wallpapers depict female pelvic bones, leaches, rotting flowers, and tangled organs that appear delicate and nonthreatening from afar but reveal their sinister nature upon approach.
In the first room featuring the green wallpaper, the imagery in the drawings pulls directly from photos within my own family photo albums; images of my grandmother when she wanted to be a singer, images of my mother when she was a child growing up in an abusive household, images of my sisters and me attempting to navigate adolescence, etc.
The exterior room is meant to act as a skin or barrier between the interior and the exterior as it both conceals and contains the contents within. The drawings hung within the interior space more directly reference the toxic material and ideologies harbored within the gendered media we ingest, and reveal themselves as the sources of the toxic material festering just under the skin of the previous room.
Formerly acquainted with the plumes of smoke escaping the mouths of gap-toothed children smiling for a photo with Santa Claus, viewers discover the sources are burning pyres stoked with the boil-ridden bodies of young women with gaping manga-esque eyes. Toads emerging from the face of my cousin Tracey on school picture day are merely the beginning of a parade of amphibian creatures, human-like in posture as they dance around a ballooning female body.
The graphite drawings are delicately drafted and due to their small scale, the viewers must force themselves into an intimate relationship with the images in order to see them, and though the putrid imagery repels them the seductive and exquisite rendering of the imagery refuses to let them go.
Gallery hours + admission:
Mon. – Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sun. 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays; Prince Kūhiō Day, Mar. 26; Good Friday, Mar. 30;
Easter, Apr. 1.
By appointment: Spring Break, Mar. 27 – 29.
Free admission. Donations are appreciated.
Parking fees may apply.
SPONSORS: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Art + Art History and College of Arts + Humanities; and supported by Waikiki Parc Hotel – Hospitality Sponsor for the Arts at UH Mānoa; Student Activity and Program Fee Board, UHM; and anonymous donors.