grace ciacciarelli

Mirroring, 2020
Graphite on paper, 18 x 20 inches

artist statement

“Mirroring” is a pencil drawing I created in the fall of 2020. While incorporating some naturalistic elements from photos I took of myself, my intention with this work was primarily to evoke sensations of objectification and depersonalization.

Having spent the majority of my childhood and teen years in the ballet studio if not at school, my college-aged visual arts practice is frequently influenced by ideas of dimensionality and representation within the dance world. During a ballet class, the mirror is a correctional tool: a device through which to identify what is wrong about one’s positioning. This continually produced a sense of dissociation or alienation from the body within myself and my peers: students had to understand how our bodies functioned not through internal physical feeling (say, misalignment or pain) but instead through witnessing a reflection of the external.

Referencing body horror illustration and imagined stroke imagery, I aimed to recreate the sensation of unreality felt when using a mirror to (fail to) understand my physiology in and beyond ballet class. Unlike photographs or mirrored reflections, I am interested in the potential for drawing to generate and record bodily experience rather than solely function as a representation of an individual--carefully rendered strands of hair, nudity, and somewhat sexually suggestive positioning serve to allude to discomfort in submission and gender performance. Though intended to be compositionally realized and harmonious, the full ‘body’ is disjointed; I omitted identifying features and let limbs flow into each other and dissipate so that the more the viewer observes the drawing, the less it makes sense.

ig: @graceposting