Beauty, age, power, and choice: What do they look like? If I can see them, do I get to decide what they mean?
“Time Will Tell” was inspired by looking at women’s faces on the train, on algorithm-driven content on social media, and at my own face on Zoom during the pandemic. As a therapist, I scan faces for emotional content that words can’t reach, while clients seem to scan mine to find empathic understanding. Outside of sessions, however, the message of Botox, fillers, and cosmetics is erasure, that our facial muscles should “forget,” and that color and line should minimize the visual record of our pain and our pleasure. My hope is that this work will subvert that a little.
Likewise, I would like to open up the myth of the passive viewer. The conversational audio track accompanying the second half — the stereotypic couple asserting ambivalence as they each make their own sense of what they are seeing — is intended as a placeholder for gallery viewers’ responses, which they can record and upload in situ while watching. Later, online viewers can publish their own “time-telling” videos on my website and social media.
Our past isn’t only the mental record of memory, it is manifest in our bodies. Online memory manifests without context, disoriented, and disembodied. What if the beauty and power of the visible marks of living could be not only seen, but felt? Let’s not be afraid to see and share more closely, deeply, and broadly.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
I am a practicing psychotherapist with a background in art history — a committed looker and feeler. I’ve worked at a range of Chicago institutions: as a clinician at the Family Institute at Northwestern University and the Women’s Treatment Center, as an art listings editor at the Chicago Reader, and as an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago. I attended the University of Chicago (BA/MA) and Loyola University Chicago (MSW). I was a 2010 Schweitzer Fellowship finalist for a project to bring therapy to museums to generate unique language references between clinicians and patients, extending clinical nomenclature into individual narratives.
Although I have written about artwork in the Reader, this is my first presentation of my own visual work.
© Tamara Faulkner