Date of Award
MFA - Master of Fine Arts
Deb Todd Wheeler
The psychoanalytic concept of the Skin Ego Theory describes the skin as a passage for pain and pleasure to travel through. Remnants of external experiences as well as internal struggles affect the penetrable barrier of the somatic wrapping and leave inscriptions on the flesh. Through my work, I have been exploring the skin’s ability to protect, envelope, and inscribe meaning through my papercuts, oil paintings, and clay sculptures. I procure the marks on my body through kink and BDSM, which then influence the work. Though my bruises may fade with time, my skin becomes tougher. By recontextualizing Skin Ego Theory to fit my studio practice, I have been able to rationalize consensual pain as a way of giving me back my agency when I feel a lack of control over medically induced pain. The skin contains a living memory - an echo of past experiences. These masochistic means of both play and process drive my artmaking practice and my understanding of the body.
Nizlyn, "Wound-Dwelling: Empowerment through Masochistic Experiences" (2022). MFA in Visual Arts Theses. 16.
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