Bent Back Again

MFA Thesis Exhibition, this, that, and the other thing 

The Ohio State University, MFA class of 2022 

Urban Arts Space, Columbus, OH
Feb 15-March 19, 2022
Photos by Matt Pevear

This body of work plays the line between figuration and abstraction, depicting figures that seep in and out of their environments. Through shape, line, and color, this work explores how the body is shaped by – and effortfully resists – pressure from cultural systems that gain power from its manipulation. Challenging the concept of a fixed identity, this series explores the body as it changes in an ongoing process of making and unmaking itself.

Exerpts from my thesis, Turn.


to turn with

to go around

con - with, together, in combination

tour- to turn, to rotate, revolve, turn away or around; change, transform; turn on a lathe

turning point - when a decisive change takes place


Spread expectations out in a bathtub and fill it up with hot water. Pick them up and touch them one by one. Let them slide against your calf, pinch the inside of your arm. While everything is submerged, let the expectations substitute for your limbs.


On the experience of feeling pressure, Sara Ahmed, in Living a Feminist Life, writes: “Sometimes we won’t change direction; we accept the pressure; maybe we even become used to that press. Maybe a pressure becomes part of us at the moment we have been relieved of pressure. We need a feminist account of such techniques of redirection.”


The constant repetition of a position, a backbend, wears out, revealing something underneath. From this tear, the back finds alliance with other bodies and objects – a hand, a cup — and bends towards them. The shapes play around, develop a rapport, figure out a new shape, hand cup. The back has found a new way of being by refusing to bend back. It becomes something unrecognizable, although a trace of its original strain remains.

This is a fiction. This is a practice.


The back's contour breaks from its expected position and something shifts.

The body turns away from its pose. Turning away from itself, the body turns toward the object that has disrupted its pattern. Turning toward the object, the body has already changed. In releasing the performance for even a second, the body’s contours destabilize. For a second, there is an opening to change.

This is the unknown and unnameable.


The transformation that occurs when a body’s contour turns toward an Other is not seen, only felt.


The body turns and embodies turning.


Charcoal drawing installation on gallery wall with 5 paintings on paper

Charcoal stenciled on gallery wall

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