HY•ST•ER•IA: Body as Battleground
Project info

HY•ST•ER•IA: Body as Battleground 

Work in Progress

“The term hysteria comes from the Greek word “hysterika”, meaning Uterus. In ancient Greece, it was believed that a wandering and discontented Uterus was blamed for that dreaded female ailment of excessive emotion, hysteria.” 

Hysteria and the Wandering Womb 
 academic.mu.edu/meissnerd/hysteria.html

“The true artist is also paradoxically the true personal mystic.”
Eva Hesse

Last year I was diagnosed with Stage 1 endometrial cancer and had to undergo a complete hysterectomy. I embarked upon this series in an attempt to fathom and artistically represent the emotional and physical changes that my body is going through. 

The dress is the center stage upon which my drama unfolds and speaks to my sense of a lost femininity due to the loss of my womb. Symbols from a tarot card reading done prior to the procedure refer to my surgery and psychological response. Photographs of my body, medical procedures, and human conflict are some of the actors in my performance.

I use a variation on the antiquarian lumen printing process to obtain the images of the dresses. The original lumen process used plant material placed on photosensitive paper and exposed by the sun. For this work, I place baby dresses onto black and white photo paper and place this outdoors for the sun to expose so I can obtain the numinous haint-blue ghostlike images. I then combine these dresses with other photographic methods to obtain the final images.