My work contends with the pressure to fill expectations of vulnerability as a survivor of sexual violence. Through sculptural self-portraiture, I explore the practices of emotional display and concealment as motivated by both personal desire and societal coercion.
In the past, I have used graphic figurative imagery to engage viewers’ attention and empathy, opening my story up to emotional voyeurism. This experience has driven me to seek a visual language that will balance my desire for honest vulnerability with protective anonymity.
My most recent work, “These Hands Are Getting Heavy”, consists of a pair of carved hands emerging from the wall. Their position suggests they are carrying something weighty yet unseen, the only proof of their struggle being their strained pose.
The hands’ open posture and raw carving marks display honest emotion. They are boldly visible with the pain of trauma. Yet, the hands are just a segment of the body they belong to, and their interaction with the wall draws attention to the concealment of the rest of the figure. By denying the audience the spectacle of the entire body, the piece questions the neutrality of its viewers and of the gallery wall.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Anna Hitchcock graduated Magna Cum Laude from Macalester College, winning a Distinguished Merit Award in Studio Art. She also studied at SACI College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME and interned at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Her artwork has been exhibited across the country, and her sculpture “Let Go!” was featured in the 2022 Newport Biennial. This past Fall, she completed an Endowed Fellowship at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. She currently lives and works in Rhode Island.
© Anna Hitchcock