Figure Studies: Hernease Davis: The Body as Absent
This week on Lenscratch, we look at the work of seven artists, exploring the many iterations of the body in photography. The body is reinterpreted using analog photography, historic processes, collage, and lithography. While some artists pierce the skin of polaroid imagery with thread, others use the blackness of metal plates to explode silver particles into nebulous stardust. Another artist catches her breath on colloid film: evidence and a trace of the body connecting the tangible with the ephemeral.
Ranging from figurative works to abstraction, these artists address themes of identity, mental illness, and mortality. By embracing the corporeal’s physicality and enigmatic psychological complexities, they transcend the recognizable figure, offering something altogether new.
Harnessing the power of self-care rituals, artist Hernease Davis uses cyanotype, crochet, and sound to create immersive installations. Her self-portraits are not a physical manifestation of herself but rather a trace, subtle evidence of her existence. These large-scale abstract cyanotypes are selectively unfixed and continue to develop and respond to their surroundings. Much like the process of healing, these images continue to evolve.
By using antiquated photographic techniques rooted in ritual, Davis incorporates the time it takes to expose a single image (usually over 20 minutes) into the outcome. While making this work, she creates a space and an opening for growth and healing.
“I change, the work changes. As the work changes, it changes me…”
A selection of this work is on view until December 5th at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in NY. Sat and Sun 1pm – 6pm and by appointment
“…new love.” is the title for my newest series of self-portrait cyanotypes on canvas, silk and linen. I use my practice to contend with the cyclical nature of deep, psychological woundings. As an in-process, healing person – I use my self portrait cyanotypes on fabrics, felted wool, crochet and and recorded layerings of my voice to create immersive spaces that are physical expressions of this continuous, internal conversation. I believe that by being honest with what I need in order to cope, that my work will find those who would connect to the notion of the ongoing experience of healing from trauma.
Hernease Davis earned her MFA from ICP-Bard College and widely exhibits multimedia installations throughout the U.S. Using photograms, cyanotypes on fabric, crochet and sound installation, Hernease creates immersive spaces of rest for herself and others. Work from her new series, “…new love.” debuted as a part of the SHIFT Residency 2020-21 hybrid exhibition at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City. She has also exhibited with the Silver Eye Center (Pittsburgh), Transformer Station (Cleveland), the International Center of Photography (New York City), the Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester), Tiger Strike Asteroid (Brooklyn), and the Houston Center for Photography. Hernease was recently named to the inaugural Silver List which recognizes emerging photo-based artists who are advancing the medium. She has been featured in Front Runner Magazine, LensCulture, and her work inspired an article in Musée Magazine that explored facets of trauma. Hernease teaches in the MFA program at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She served as a Visiting Lecturer at ICP-Bard where Hernease led a course exploring empathy through art practice.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
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