Artist Statement

          My work revolves around the recognition, both individual, personal, and public, of the unifying aspect of intense human emotion. This is one of the most timeless of subjects for the creation of art as one need look no further than a Northern Renaissance Rogier van der Weyden Deposition, or a Francis Bacon portrait. Heartbreak, struggle, disappointment, sadness and many more negative experiences can feel so isolating, making it seem as if you were the only one in this world going through them. These emotions make even the toughest of people feel as if they were truly alone and distant from others. I have been through many points in time where I have felt truly alone. Even the people closest to me couldn’t bring me back from this uneasy feeling of being completely distant from everything around me. During these moments of seclusion is when I turned to my art to try and understand exactly what was occurring within myself and, simultaneously understood my connection with the role of intense emotion as a subject for art. Through these periods of introspective analysis, I came to the belief that these intense feelings that we go through, not just the aforementioned “negative” ones, are some of the most human and therefore the most unifying. These are only unifying however, if there is light shined upon it. The shedding of light is both actual and metaphorical in my work in that light plays a very important role in my practice as does a study of what it exposes.

 

          In my work, which has a primary focus in photography, video, and sculpture, the human figure, as well as light, are reoccurring themes. The human figure is an instantaneously recognizable object. Through this idea of recognizability, I use the human figure as a tool to create a sense of connection and familiarity with the audience, while light is what I use to draw attention to the specific issue I am showcasing to the viewer. The human body in itself is a vessel for countless stories. Scars, birth marks, stretch marks, wrinkles and other such bodily details can tell amazing tales without muttering a single word. Not only can these markings on the body be used to speak, but the slightest combination of movements or even the positioning of the body can assist in the telling of a story that transcends the need for written or spoken language.

          Light gives me the ability to create visual clarity and bring life to a piece. By simply controlling the way a light blinks or fades, I can simulate a heartbeat which gives the impression that the piece is actually alive and/or breathing. However, even with the brightest of lights, there will always be shadows that obscure portions of an object. This suggests that even when an issue is being presented, there are still aspects of it being kept in the dark. These unknown elements should inspire empathy, sympathy and the need for discussions on topics that are seldom shared.

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© 2018 Michael C. Saari