Aimee Brasseur, art, Central Michigan University, composite photography, deciphering an image, depression, long-distance relationship, Park Library, Self Reflected exhibition, the blanket, tiny little hope machine, to get to the other side
As I’ve mentioned earlier this month, when my friend Michael and I visited the art exhibit in the Baber room at the Park Library, I got intrigued by the pictures Aimee Brasseur had taken. (Brasseur… what a great name!) Right then I decided to blog about some of them in the near future. I wouldn’t mind talking about all of them, but that’s a discussion more appropriate over coffee (or a glass of wine, either works). This is the first time I’ve heard of composite photography: “combining several distinct photographs either made one over another on the same plate or made on one print from a number of negatives” (Google).
In the third paragraph on this board, Brasseur says, “Two-parts storytelling, one part catharsis, each image is an allegorical representation of a page in my personal history – my self-authored mythology. In short, these are stories from my life, retold the way I choose to remember them. But most interesting to me are the interpretations presented by each viewer who, without necessarily being cognizant of it, uses her or his own experiences to decipher the symbols hidden within. As a result, the work ceases to be about me as these interpretations allow each image to breathe a life independent of the original story.
See, I didn’t even read that the first time I was the exhibit. It’s so cool that when you create something, it means something specifically to you and the origin of that art piece is the reason it exists. Then when others get a good look at it, the art attains an entirely new meaning, or at least to the viewer. One of my beta readers for instances has compared my novel to Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, which is a huge (and pleasing) surprise to me, because I have not thought of or even remotely sought influence from that book. Maybe I have, subconsciously… who can say.
Anyhow, to the pictures: I’ve chosen “tiny little hope machine,” “the blanket” and “to get to the other side.” Sorry in advance for the mediocre quality of *my* pictures.
Gosh, this is amazing! So here’s Brasseur as a sewing mannequin, opening a little door in her chest and letting a small bird out of her body. Do I want to go for the obvious answer? It could signify personal freedom, but to what extent? It could mean she’s opening herself up little by little, or taking baby steps out of her comfort zone. She wants to break out of a frame that many young women are trapped into – labor in the household, having a specific body type – which I’m getting from the mannequin. Is it finding inner beauty as well?
I gotta say, that’s something I’d hang in my living room. I also like birds a lot (all animals really) so that’s an additional reason for me to like the photo.
This is the picture I reviewed on the spot in front of Michael. I watched it for two seconds and saw DEPRESSION staring me right in the face. Just look: Brasseur is wearing the blanket like a dress – or a toga, not sure – and the image of her is broken and fragmented. Then there’s the title: “the blanket.” To me, it looks as though she is living her life in that blanket – i.e. staying in bed all day – trying to keep herself together, but she can’t. She’s falling apart and the blanket can’t save her.
Perhaps that’s morbid, but that’s what I read. What do you think?
I hope I don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining this one, because I relate to it too much. It could mean dealing with grief – the inability to talk with someone close to you – or it could mean unresolved issues in a relationship, which I want to go with. Well, that’s what I see the most when I look at it. I won’t go into detail, but there’s been periods in my life when I’ve been sitting at the same table with a particular person and even though we were there – breathing the same air, looking each other in the eye – we had trouble getting over our communication barriers. Sometimes it was as though those walls we had built between us grew opaque during those quiet conversations, and we just knew it would take a lot more than apologies before we could be friends again.
On that note, I’m going to take my leave. Good evening.