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Madeline Hutchinson

“The Conjuncture Between Dissociation and Overwhelming Sentience”

Artist Statement

The subject matter is a teenage girl, laying in her bed. This is an indirect allusion to myself, as she is an encapsulation of my dysmorphia and inability to accurately perceive myself in the physical form. She is simultaneously my entire essence and also a completely fictitious entity. Another conjuncture. My experiences with isolation amidst quarantine inspired this piece. The stagnation of this pandemic prompted feelings of being completely removed by and consumed by the painful isolation of quarantine. Existence is illusively familiar and frighteningly surreal. Color, value, and contrast have always been important elements to me. They are amplified in this work to signal the intensity of my experience. In this work, I made sure to give the folds and fabric of the bedsheets much dimension, to represent the all-encompassing comfort they provide. The bed became an almost living organism, growing new sprouted folds over time. The 36” by 24” canvas is painted in acrylic paint. I chose a canvas of this size because it allows me to render and shade to fine detail, which is something I have always enjoyed in painting. I have always had dreams of working in this size, but was never able to carry it out until now. There was a calling to paint this composition large. Over time, its almost life-size proportions appeared mirror-like. I am not sure if I wanted the despair of the pandemic to be acknowledged by the viewer or if I, as the artist needed to find peace with these days in quiet isolation. While painting, I took on numerous different strategies, such as painting on my bed, painting the canvas propped against my wall, and laying the piece on the floor. A big painting can certainly command space and forces you to engage in a relationship with its surface. There has been much to contemplate over the past two years. My negotiations with the painting led to many personal reflections. My academic work throughout my career at Stuyvesant has felt consistently detached from my own personal

character. I am an artist. My work, the tests I take, and my notes, all of it is mostly stimulated by the teacher and my achievement seems to satisfy these external requirements. The origins of the work remain theirs. I have not yet been able to create out of my volition. This opportunity bestowed a creative break from academic rigor. I could create something for myself. So my goal was to create work where I created the rules. I was free.

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