My work bears witness to the results of contemporary hysteria, specifically the ways in which mental illness complicates communication and creates dysfunction in human connections. I take advantage of color, tactile sensations, movement, and installation aspects to welcome you into my work. But upon closer inspection you’ll notice the contradictions. It’s probably going to upset you. But that’s the point. This is upsetting stuff I’m talking about. The resulting uncanny, absurdist mess is intended to stay with you. I want attract a curious viewer. One symptom of depression that sufferers feel is the reoccurring thought that no one else in the world feels as they do. Through my art practice, I seek first to give voice to myself. In opening up to you, I suspect you will find things you can relate to. If you have suffered in some way, you are not alone. Hysteria exists. Biases need not. We’ll get through this together. My art serves to open up the conversation about the human embodiment of identity; through trauma, privilege, power, and manipulation how is our identity even formed?
Animal idioms and animal imagery is a common thread through out my work because animals are easier to look at when we’re staring into a mirror. I’ll be using found objects from the surrounding environment and Jacquard SolarFast dye on fabrics in order to make imperfect idols. Idolatry places the object or person in a light of perfection, much to the disservice of both the worshipper who will no doubt end up disappointed, and that which is being venerated, which while being objectified can never live up to its expectations. Textiles have also been traditionally seen as “women’s work” and not the realm of fine art. I’d like to simultaneously challenge this bias. Borrowing from the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, I will create animal- based “secular idols” that represent different parts of the human body. As I complete each idol I will be “praying” to it as I attempt to accomplish an difficult or impossible but harmless task with the body part it represents each day.
Lesley Silvia is a multidisciplinary artist who really likes color and texture. She earned her MFA in Visual Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon in 2016. She has shown work at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR, in Alberta, Canada, Vreden Germany, and all over Central Florida. Lesley currently teaches Photoshop and typography at Full Sail University and lives in Central Florida with her writer husband, two cats she puts bandanas on, and a neurotic dog.