Second Prize - Silver Frame Award
She Only Crawls at Night,
Oil, wallpaper, cardboard on canvas,
by Jolene Beckman, USA -
For quite some time my work has been informed by notions of concealment, how one forms their outward identity through a process of choosing which parts of their personality to reveal to others. Usage of wallpaper seemed like a natural progression, in that it literally covers, while it simultaneously embellishes through design. I was then introduced to the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the work took on other possibilities. The story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a haunting tale, written in 1899 from the point of view of a young woman who at first appears to have a case of postpartum depression. She is kept in a room whose distinguishing feature is intricately designed yellow wallpaper. After spending weeks in this room the woman starts believing that the wallpaper is alive, that there is another woman living inside of it, underneath. By the end of the story she becomes consumed by the wallpaper, becomes the woman trapped inside it.
The story fascinates me, and I am finding connections still relevant to the societal expectations of women, and ways in which we accept and/or reject them. The “other stories” presented are various interpretations of the theme. The wallpaper has been used in a few different ways, on top, underneath and within, to represent the unfixed, malleable aspect of identity formation. With this work I hope to create images that when looked at beyond the decorative surface, may contain something unexpected deeper within.
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