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2018 Annual Conference

Philadelphia

March 01-04, 2018

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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Melissa Borman

SPE Member since 2012
Member Chapter: Midwest

A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Four years ago, I suffered an injury that significantly limited my mobility for over a year. This injury instigated my interest in depictions of the body. I began researching images of the human figure in the landscape. After wading through historical and contemporary works depicting passive female figures, exposed to the elements and unnaturally posed against landscape backdrops, I set out to make images that critically engage conventional aesthetic associations between women and nature. With members of my community, including fellow artists, colleagues, and former roller derby teammates as subjects, I began making the photographs of women in the landscape I wanted to see.

In response to visual tropes traditionally used when depicting women in the landscape, the photographs illustrate a desire to engage with the natural world through intentional, subject-driven participation. In contrast to traditional figure studies or portraits, the work follows a series of protagonists through natural spaces, such as forests, lakes, prairies, and coastlines. The relationship between these women and their experience of their surroundings is grounded in their individual physicality. The protagonists demonstrate their agency as subjects by actively inhabiting these places; often integrated within the landscape, at times becoming engrossed with, struggling against, or even finding refuge in, their surroundings.

Untitled 1 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 2 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 3 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 4 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 5 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

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