artist statements

victoria marie bee

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 I. Senses related to the physical exertion of pressure.

1. a. To act on (an object) with continuous force directed towards it by means of physical contact; to exert a steady force against (something touched) by weight, a fingertip, etc.; to subject to pressure; (also) to crushTo press the button. b. To exert pressure; to bear with weight or force onupon, or against. c. To torture or execute (a person) by means of peine forte et dureTo press to death. d. To squeeze or hold (a person, a person’s hand, etc.) as a sign of affection; to hold lovingly to or against oneself. e. to press (the) flesh: to shake hands; to greet by physical contact. Now esp. in reference to people campaigning for political office.

2. To apply pressure to (something). a. To subject to pressure so as to reduce a particular shape, consistency, smoothness, thinness, or bulk, or so as to extract juice, etc., from; to compress, squeeze. b. To smooth or flatten (fabric or clothes) with an iron or clothes press; to iron. c. To flatten & dry (leaves, flowers, etc.) in order to preserve them. d. To manufacture (a gramophone record) by moulding under pressure. Hence: to make or issue (a sound recording). Also with up.

3. To extract pressure; to express; to squeeze (liquid, juice, etc.) from or out of something.

4. To cause to move in a particular direction, or into a certain position, by pressure of contact; to push, drive, or thrust down, forward, into, etc.

5. To print.

Every time a photograph is taken, there’s an acknowledgement of loss—the scene, the environment, the subject, the file, and even the change that takes place immediately after the photographer presses down the shutter button—everything breaks down. Left are memories and traces, the stories we tell repeatedly to ourselves, only able to let others in on fragments of our experience. Three of the main themes in my current research include: pressure versus the act of pressing; creation from destruction; and, revealing the beautiful within the grotesque. For this ongoing series, PRESS(v.), I use the scanner and letterpress printing to draw the viewer uncomfortably close, and I search for the sublime in personal histories of the body. I flip the power of pressure, and actively engage in the verb press. I am especially interested when the physical process itself embodies part of the concept, such as in the persistent and unrelenting actions involved in the action of pressing. Inspired by Emily Dickinson—for her words, her envelope poems (poetry written on scraps of paper, recipes, or envelopes), and how she pressed and preserved nature in various indexing formats (including her extensive herbarium of pressed botanical specimens), I started pushing objects and images onto fabric or paper with type-high materials in a press bed, to manipulating garments and pressing them with other materials in a camera-less scanner. My visual language is personal and intimate, with materials chosen because they reflect the aftermath of intensity, with references to bodily fluids and the carnal. I search for beauty in devastation, examining the external and the internal, sex and violence, and the sudden and the gradual (in regards to the alchemy that takes places as part of the process). The act of pressing it against the glass or in a press creates an intimate map: the folds make valleys and peaks with thread that has touched intimate places the viewer hasn’t, the liquids mix together and continuously transform in the course of capturing the image, and there’s a violation to the most intimate parts of the body—revealed to the viewer in a voyeuristic manner.