Artist Statement

Teresa Lee

We Are Not Made of Glass

Objects and images that are neglected or regarded as ugly are a big focus for me throughout my works. I am interested in the weird and grotesque, especially as these characteristics conjure feelings of disgust and uneasiness, resulting in curiosity and discussion. These feelings have fueled my thoughts and research into bruises. I am drawn to the human body’s complexities and imperfections- while jewellery is worn on the body, this combination of theory and practice fits perfectly together.

Jewellery is worn to add to the wearer’s aesthetic and acts as an expression of their identity. Every bruise on the human body has a story behind it and like jewellery, bruises can give the viewer an insight into the wearer. The typical connotation behind a bruise is quite negative, but through my pieces I want to represent another side that communicates the visual beauty of the injury. The pinks, blues and purples as well as yellows and greens are striking colours on the skin and create unpredictable, unique shapes. Through my own photography of bruises I documented those that were caused by accidents, such as results of sporting collisions and everyday bumping into objects. Bruises are just adornments the body produces naturally, expressing the wearer’s story in the same way contemporary adornment can.

To an extent, the human body can take a large amount of impact without falling apart and bruises remain as a badge of honour, a show of hard work, as evidence of a narrative. Whether the narrative is an accident, a victory or an act of violence, a story is projected that represents the wearer. Temporary tattoos of hand printed bruises allow an accessible way to adorn the body with these beautiful, natural images without having to apply blunt force.

Bruises, as organic images produced by the body, are jewellery themselves and like contemporary jewellery they are ornaments that carry meaning and experience. They are portable stories and metaphors. The works aim to communicate the beauty within a bruise while subtly still holding onto the grotesque qualities associated them.

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