Welcome/Welcome Back (2020), is a continuation of an earlier body of work. The psychological process, described variously as “finding one’s agency,” completing “a process of individuation,” or more prosaically as “coming of age,” is a universal challenge and the concept underpinning this work.
The original series, Welcome (1996), was a 16-photograph series of naked self-portraits that aimed to deconstruct, identify, and assert a sense of self while acknowledging that identity is not fixed, but multi-faceted and contextually fluctuating.
Fifteen years later, I was pregnant and curious to understand how time, accumulated experience, and motherhood would change both the viewers’ perceptions and my own capacity to re-enact the performances.
As a feminist and a humanist, I wanted to avoid the objectification that too frequently characterizes the photographed subject. In these life-size photographs hung at eye level, I sought a direct engagement with the viewer. The gaze is returned with the intent to provoke a kind of conversation that is also a declaration: “I am.” Collectively, these enactments tell a personal story, one that aspires to transcend the individual narrative to consider more broadly how the dynamics between public and private and subject and object, affect identity and its perception. As I wrote at the time of the original series, I wanted “to make work that screams I so loudly that other I’s turn at the sound of their own names.”
The resulting work consists of 32 life-size photographs–16 time-spanning portrait pairs exhibited side by side. Below is a selection from the series.