Brenda LaBier: Artist Statement
Recording my transitioning identity over many years, Insertable Self is one in a life-long series of self-portraits; an attempt to see myself, a cumulative self-examination of my formation.
The conversation of message and medium are equally important, conveying the struggle of dualities of self and the expectations of labels others have given me and in turn which I have placed upon myself. I started living life one step removed, as my own spectator; not as my true self, but as I appear to others,the in-between.
Language mirrors the connection between the physical and mental and can either empower or demean. Words and labels change our view of ourselves or our perceived value to others. These character assassinations, in this case to myself/women, caused by stigmatizing language, shift our assessments of self. While it can be subtle, they have vast ramifications. Defined by one aspect of ourselves or one label, a described physical feature or sexual orientation rather than all our facets, we become a fractured interpretation of the whole.
Composing vignettes with complex narratives, the images and text investigate the essence of the self, gender, physical, factual, illusory, artificial, and why these portrayals and representations were acquired and inserted to supplement the self. Stripped down, exposed and unprotected, the portraits symbolize and reveal flaws and vulnerabilities. They are an observation of the invalidations and challenges of how labels and statements can dismiss your very being.
Image credit:Insertable Self, detail, 48 x 60", Photography and mixed media