Emily Elliott | Fine Art
My research for the past seven years has implemented the process of mold making and life-casting as meditative vehicle for exploring fear, identity, and anxiety. It began as a way to reconcile past trauma with functioning in daily life. My practice has evolved into a coping mechanism or ritual through which I dissect intrusive thoughts or worry and challenge those ideas through the fabrication of objects in space. Through this investigation I am able to give physical presence to my own irrational fear and open a dialogue with viewers about mental health and the stigma often associated with it.
The specific gravitation towards mold-making and material exploration in my creative practice is a physical reflection of anxiety and my Sisyphean quest to overcome it. The extensive, specific, regimented process of creating the work is cathartic for me. In my studio, materials and icons become surrogates for intangible thoughts, and invisible threats. Through casting I can mirror the multiplication and chaos of a brain stuck in a thought loop. What begins as a single mold transforms into an army, taking on physical form invading every surface of my studio. I enjoy the repetition of making these objects. There are rules, ratios, and an order to follow when working with plaster, silicone, and resin. This structured system feels like it exists in total opposition to the world we live in.
Creating within a regimented process allows me to play with my neuroses through physical proxies. I’m able to view and analyze them in the round, arrange and re-arrange them until they make sense to me. While not all of the figures in my work are life cast from my own body, I still see them as psychological self-portraits, physical manifestations of moments in my life. Moments where I should have said or done something differently, moments I wish I could forget, moments I wish I could still remember. By displaying the work, I am forced to confront that which scares me most, but on my own terms.
My concern is not in creating something palatable or purely aesthetic, but in creating objects and installations that make me uncomfortable, experiences that make me question why that is. The paramount goal is to challenge how I view the world around me, but also how I define my place within that world. With the onset of the pandemic, I have embraced the resurgence of my fears associated with mortality and the inherent “risk” associated with proximity and intimacy. Collectively, we have experienced these fears for the past two years and I hope to explore ideas of universal empathy within my practice. Through making I have been able to find a sense of solace, control, or at the very least humor within the issues that make me uncomfortable or upset. I hope that in viewing my work it can do the same for others, even if it is only through the simple act of knowing that they are not alone in their experience.