More Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, art fans, the Accidental Amazon has made it to the gallery wall. Never one to shirk from crawling out on a limb, I entered “Symmetry Adjusted” in the annual juried photography show at the Wickford Art Association and it was accepted. Hey, Matuschka, I’m right behind you! (See my previous post, “The Artful Breast.”) The opening reception is tomorrow night at the gallery from 6-8 p.m. The public is welcome. Of course I’m going. I’ve got to show off my new tattoo! {details later}

Symbolically, this is huge for me. Last year, long before that fateful day of July 24th, 2008 when I was first told I had cancer, I had been feeling a need to take a leap forward in my art. I wasn’t sure what that leap was going to be exactly, but I had a feeling that it was going to involve an exploration of some kind of portraiture, a realm I had not much explored in my photography, although I had explored it as a young artist working in pencil, charcoal and pastels.

Portraiture as art is a very tricky thing, perhaps especially in photography. Any photographer with a few brain cells knows that taking a good photo is not merely an issue of pointing the lens and clicking the shutter. In order to capture something about the soul, the vulnerability, the humanity of a person, there must be a relationship between photographer and subject that cannot easily be articulated. This is true even when the photographer is her own subject. The photographer herself must be able to confront her own soul, vulnerability and humanity in order to find it in her subject and depict in through the camera. Even when, as in the above work, the person’s face remains unseen, the essence of the subject will not be visible to anyone if it is not deeply seen and felt by the photographer. What she brings to her task is, in this realm in particular, very much what the photographer will get out of her work.

Now that I am a breast cancer survivor, the vague, amorphous thoughts that were percolating in my artistic mind last year began to coalesce. Somehow, I want to explore the journey of all breast cancer survivors by trying to express how I feel about my own journey. The art that has at last begun to emerge, after long gestation, is deeply personal and thus, I hope, deeply universal, not just to cancer survivors, but to all women who have come through any experience that has challenged their self-image, their sexuality, and their courage. I also wanted to challenge the assumptions that the culture brings to the images, sexuality and courage of women. And finally, because I am, after all, the Accidental Amazon, I just plain wanted to shake people up a little, including myself. And so, on all these levels, it is very gratifying for me to have gotten this work accepted in a juried photography show, especially at Wickford Art, where I have served on the Board of Directors, made some excellent friends and sold so much work.

When a gallery hires a juror for an art show, it selects someone who has no relationship with the gallery so that this person can judge work anonymously and objectively. I like to find out something about a juror before I submit work to a juried show, in the perhaps mistaken belief that I might be able to suss out a sympathy for certain themes by looking at the juror’s own work and background. I knew that I wanted to enter the above piece no matter what, but if I had thought the juror might not be particularly receptive to it, I might have saved it for another show. Right before I finished preparing my photo last night to take to the gallery for submission, I looked up the juror and discovered that she had edited a book of nude and erotic photography called The Passionate Camera. Wow, I thought. I could not have selected a juror more potentially sympathetic to my subject matter and its presentation if I’d picked her myself.

Sometimes Fate kicks you in the teeth. And sometimes, when you’re ready, She helps you fly.

Please click on the post title or the comment link below to post a response. And please follow the link here or on my sidebar to vote for my blog, which has been nominated for a “Most Provocative Blog” award (thanks, Coco!) You can vote every day through July!!

This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Thursday, June 04, 2009 at 11:06 pm, filed under Art & Music, Surgery & Reconstruction, Survivorship and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

6 Responses to “More Shameless Self-Promotion”

  1. That is such great news. I am so proud for you. Proud that you were able to do this as well. I left a comment on the previous blog but I think there was a glitch or something. I am so thankful that was not the current prognosis. I was flipping out.

    Congratulations. Also, tell your buds that they can vote every day.

  2. The photo is just WONDERFUL. It gave me goose bumps. It is wonderful. It is beautiful, sexy, thoughtfully and emotionally provoking. It is so moving, so well done. Wow. Good for you. I’m really happy for you. What a milestone. xo, T.

  3. I saw the photo in person Kathi….really well done…….and beautifully presented…congrats.

  4. Beautiful pictures. The refined art!

  5. Kathi,

    I too love your photograph and deeply resonate with your words. I too have been using art as a way to come to terms with my changed body following a mastectomy and have found it an incredibly liberating experience for myself. t has also been a powerful way to allow other people, including doctors etc to gain a more persona understanding of the experience of breast cancer.

    Kay x

  6. I’m so glad you relate, Kay. I’m not sure about some of the odd things that pass for ‘art’ about breast cancer, but I applaud all efforts to use the transformative power of art to communicate our experience. Love your site!!

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