Ruminate is a sculptural series that hyper-focuses on the leading factors and feelings of depression and anxiety.  

Through a specific texture on my sculptures I can change the voice of my work from curiosity to one of unease. When someone reaches out to touch the sculptures the texture should give them goosebumps, making them curious and unsettled at the same time. 

Last year, mental illness affected one out of every five adults in America and more than half of those affected did not receive help or treatment.* Our society has gradually become more understanding of mental health, allowing us to more readily share our challenges. However, when we get to the hard, ugly face of mental illness, too many of us still feel ashamed despite depression and anxiety being common and ubiquitous. I employ blankets to create a reassuring, meditative space that participants can experience. Within this comforting shelter, I introduce ceramic sculptures that express anxiety, stress and entrapment.

 

My intention for those who choose to interact with this empathetic experience is to feel stuck in between peace and unease and challenged to overcome the reticence to share mental health problems. It is important to me that my audience understands the millions of people who suffer from these conditions. Participants are provided only a brief glimpse into the everyday life of those living with mental illness who, because of depression and fear, live each day trapped in darkness, unable to see beyond their pain.

        * According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Historical and Cultural Context

My creative practice comprises social commentary on the current mental epidemic faced especially by my generation in recent years. My work not only references current installations of the last 5 years, like the performative installation sculpture of Ernesto Neto’s, Um Sagrado Lugar (A Sacred Place), but also the beginning of performance art in contemporary art, happenings, like George Brecht’s A chair with a History. The happenings of the late 1950s and 1960s were the starting point of performance art that emerged from the Dada and Surrealist movements. They typically were held in environments or installations created within a gallery setting and often involved time-based media like sound or video and the added participation of the audience.

 © 2019 by Molly Katherine Dwight