Chelsea Thompto

Trans Effigy
Burnt wood and charcoal on wall; 60 x 72 in.

My artistic practice is centered around my lived experience as a transwoman. I draw upon witnessed shifts in my gendered privilege and acceptance which coincide with my shift between gender identities. It is the occupying of this space between normative genders that both makes me an outsider and allows me to see the dynamics of gender in a wholly different way. Through my artistic practice I am reenvisioning the space between normative gender roles as a place of power and perspective rather than of weakness and inferiority. My practice includes works in sculpture, drawing, installation, sound and text. It is at times autobiographical and uses documentation, repetition, manufactured systems and material specificity as the main modes of form generate and contextual exploration.

Much of my work incorporates a (false) binary system of my own design. This system uses dashes to create rune-like forms which are used in place of the English alphabet. The code has roots in binary computer, but instead of using zeroes and ones, the dash form is mirrored to create a binary system that resists being read as a summation of two clearly distinct choices. This challenges the reading of its structure as purely binary. This parallels the contemporary challenging of the gender binary through observed inconsistencies by a multitude of academic pursuits.
This system also slows down the reading of the work, requiring the viewer to process and decode in a more visual and meticulous way than a traditionally textual piece might allow, linking directly to the challenge of communicating a non-binary experience using terms and language that uphold false binary relations through its vocabulary and terms. Through the use of these elements I create experiential works which convey my lived trans experience and my perspective on systematized/pathologized structures of sex, gender, and desire in western culture.