RACHEL CARLSON: In Asylum - BFA Thesis Exhibit

Opening Reception Tuesday Dec 3, 5-7PM



Asylum—a word that by definition can mean both an institution for those with physical or mental impairments or a place of refuge. It is in my belief that we all have our places of asylum within the realms of our minds—places where we allow ourselves to go insane while feeling protected. Yet, these ‘safe’ havens can also become a prison. My current work explores this inner conflict of the self—specifically when relating to the conscious or subconscious psychological defense mechanisms we create. During the previous year, I began reflecting on the idea of self-consciousness and the illusion of perfectionist ideals. From this I generated a body of work that illustrated the qualms I had about myself—both externally and internally. Over time my idea shifted to asking the questions “why” and “how.” Why do such qualms exist and how to we guard ourselves from them? Thus, I developed the understanding that we create psychological barriers to protect ourselves from the emotionally damaging effects of life, but can, as a result, inflict further harm on ourselves. My question to the viewer thus becomes why do we require such barriers if they cause more destruction than benefits? The need to divulge on such a subject comes at a time in society when the projection of vulnerability is seen negatively. We always seem to hold a part of ourselves back due to fear of judgment. Thus, by holding back, the anxieties build until they are tearing at the seams and breaking through the cracks. In viewing the images I put before them, I hope to have the audience contemplate the barriers they have built as protection—letting them collapse and face their vulnerabilities head on.