chrystal mcconnell : v i s u a l a r t i s t
artist statement :
I am drawn to the primitive ideas that once dictated our society. To the primitive objects that once traversed onto our shelves and into our homes. To the abandoned buildings and forsaken relics of our forefathers. To the surreptitious demands of patriarchal values; and to the heightened alliance once found between the public and private spheres of domesticity. It is these ideals of antiquated articles and relinquished norms that make their way into much of my artwork. When you spend your childhood as only I have - moving from town to town, city to city, state to state - people and places get replaced with products and possessions. You know not of yourself through any emotion, but rather through inanimate objects.
I often use these objects to subjugate the common expectations of ordinary place. This extensive use of found items lends itself to that of an earlier era. While many of these substances are dying, decomposing, and all together forgotten – a certain remembrance is awakened as they undergo a resurrection and a rebirth of new meaning and interpretation. I give precedence to the imperfect nature of such items and frequently embrace this quality as elegance and sophistication. The ripped, tattered and torn visage of most articles is highlighted in my work to call upon a deeper level of consequence. At times, these items are found on-site, and at other times they are placed congruently within the environment. I also employ the hand of the artist through various acts of mark-making, in conjunction with found items, to highlight the human hand in the creation of such an image or artwork.
Most recently, my work has taken the form of full-scale site-specific installations. Each piece is interactive and the viewer is encouraged to experience the work as a transformative environment. However, that is not to say that I have lost sight of my photographic process. On the contrary, my installations have been informed through such processes, and, at times, have incorporated interdisciplinary practices. I continue to work with 35mm, large-format, antique, plastic and digital cameras. A varied source of tools has allowed me to further investigate form, light, objects and relationships in new ways. As of late, I have been exploring the idea of “self.” I prefer that the “self” become apparent through the visual representation of objects and ephemera, and less through the body in which I inhabit.
And for me, that is an ongoing process.
As a whole, my artwork represents a myriad of dreamlike memories and forgotten recollections. I am uniquely drawn to the pictorial masking of words, lines and profound shapes, as they seem to appear in many of my found objects. The pieces themselves, though formally and beautifully constructed, speak to a stringent exterior that houses a much more complex interior. In my world, being an artist means forever healing your own wounds, and at the same time, endlessly exposing them.