oil on paper
15 x 21 in.
trau.ma\’trau-ma, ‘tro-\ n, p1 trau.ma.ta:
“a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury.”
How do we, as women, define something as subjective as trauma? And how do we as artists represent the amorphous underworld of “a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury?”
The traumatic events in my life have traveled from my journals and subconscious mind as shadowy shapes eventually manifesting as paintings. It is there, on canvas, where I’ve felt free to explore in a purely emotive way the process from darkness to recovery.
After the sudden death of my niece, I stabbed my anger with a palette knife onto canvas until I could breathe. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I applied layer upon layer of oil stick to paper, scraping away, then reapplying, in hopes of discovering my cure. During divorce, I gently feathered the colors, stroking the edges of my pain into a submissive form I could finally hold.
My paintings are personal. I explore relationships and how they define us by investigating the vulnerable moments we don’t necessarily share with the world-the soft part beneath the shell.
I believe that the documentation and visual expression of our lives is crucial to the growth of womankind. There is strength and power in seeing paintings that move you-to feel that someone understands what the process of trauma is all about without having to utter a word-and to know, that in time, there is also the gift of healing.
© Rachael McCampbell