Kenyon Class of ’14, Studio Art major
In my childhood bedroom, my bed faced two windows, in between the white- framed windows was my desk etched with my name and sixth grade algebra homework. My mom got mad at me, I think. My carpet was grayish and covered with black cat hairs; stained with diluted cranberry juice I use to tote around in a plastic bottle, and deep blue ballpoint pen that had bled in spots from my drawings on newspaper of my grandmother’s zinnias. Diagonal to my bed was a black and gold painted chair with a Bowdoin College seal where I flung my clothes as I dressed myself at 7:54 am each morning. My dresser was a big hunk of dark stained wood, and the bottom drawer would stick when I tried to push it back in, so I would sit on the floor and push it back with my feet, and this would make the wood framed mirror on top of the dresser shake.
Since I have laid eyes on this bedroom, nine years have passed. Memory is a powerful, almost striking, supernatural force. Filling in my memories with the physicality that they lack, I save everything. I expose myself through the use of my possessions as materials and I use memory to compose my work.
I layer my materials, creating my aesthetic with the overwhelming nature of excess and addiction. Obsessed with compulsion, I feel deeply. The sensory moments I have had with the world define the work that I make. I believe in the power of sound, touch, taste, smell and sight. I believe in the body as more than just hands making things; the whole body is my tool. My obsession with the body is manifested in the physical energy I expend to create my work.
Here, I have constructed a formal composition; a space comprised of the different bedrooms I have inhabited. I have created this space to be authentically my own, creating and altering all of the furniture, and using my own photographs, cards, books, bedding, clothing, and even trash. I have destroyed this constructed space in a performance that oscillates between the loss and attainment of control. I act out unbridled emotions that I associate with the bedroom, a place I define as lonely, aching, angry, empty, sexual, and virginal. Believing in the beauty of destruction, I have left just the remains of what I created and then destroyed. This wreckage tells a story, my story, and seeks to connect to the viewer through shared human emotion and experience.
— Emily Torrey, ‘14