Erin Fei

Chagrin

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oil on canvas, 2020, 30” x 28”

Artist Statement

Humanity is forever cursed to find meaning in its existence. While language and meaning are synonymous, how was communication possible before the invention of spoken word? Expressions and body language existed long before and have developed alongside spoken language. However, cultural differences and language barriers are a source of misrepresentation, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding. My work strives to inspire empathy, affecting subjective emotions relating to the sensations of touch and visceral experience and so, my work is based not on being understood by others but being understood empirically by the individual.

Functioning in the realm of surrealism, in the liberation of the imagination and analysis of the subconscious, my work attempts to find balance between the internal and external worlds finding solace deep within a crevasse of the uncanny valley. The content of my work deals heavily with the relationship between Self and Other—object and subject—and how self-identity and meaning are derived empirically using the human figure as a primary vessel. I manipulate bodies to communicate with my viewers through gesture and expression as these are the core of silent communiqué. Body language, gesticulation, and expression are all familiar—but without proper context can be lost in translation.

I ask the viewer to question reality and standards of normality through their own perceptions, impressions, and personal experiences. The dialectic between recognizable and unfamiliar inflict sensations of doubt and ambiguity which beget internal conversations of self-reflection. My work does not pose any answers to life’s existential questions; instead it creates an atmosphere where one can begin to question their own understandings of it. There will always be limitations to language, trapping us in an internal subjective experience, ourselves longing to be understood.


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