Tory Keith

Vanishing Point
17 x 20.5 in.

screen print
29 x 21 in.

In My Hands
28 x 20.5 in.

I grew up in rural upstate New York, a place of wide expanses and disconnection from other people. I spent my childhood exploring forests, sneaking through the darkness of my parents’ old barn in search of forgotten dusty treasures, occasionally startling wild animals. All the time, I was creating stories for myself to fill these lonely spaces. Talking animals, humans capable of transformation, and mystical happenings were the center of these stories. As I grew older and left my parents’ farm, the expectations and assumptions of women pressed in and began to crack the surface of my internal world. Storytelling was a shield for me, a way to understand my rapidly changing world.

Through my work I create modern mythologies of female struggle against larger powers – the restrictive hand of cultural norms, the overt and hidden oppression coded into their everyday experiences, physical and mental violence suffered. I create prints and drawings in which women fight against restraints, distort and bend, and become terrifying monsters in their struggle to escape. They regain power, becoming something else in the process. These struggles are universal, and in my work they occupy a space of unreality in between worlds. Representing this visually, embracing the fear that is created and transforming it into power, is a movement towards breaking that cycle.

© Tory Keith