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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428



Senior Project APRIL 2016

The work in this exhibition reflects an extreme version of emotional states made visible through symbiotic relationships with plants. The skin is one of the first physical features of a person that we notice, and the human condition can be viewed simply by looking at an individual’s skin. There is a physical record of their life having a connection to all the scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, and the general wear and tear of going through life. However, there is a more elusive detail that can easily be overlooked, but still manage to resonate on the outside. The inner conflicts involving mental and emotional strife are what eludes the surface, but can still leave traces of an individual's psychological state.

It has been known that the chemical reactions that occur within the body, such as when an individual experiences terrible stress, can become the source of breakouts of acne, rashes, bumps, hives and other afflictions on their skin.  Stress is our body's reaction to any type of change that requires an adjustment with a physical, emotional, and mental response. When in an extreme emotional or psychological state, an individual can push reality to the wayside and people within that reality simply become a blur in the background. Soon everything seems to come out of focus and unique individuals become featureless shapes in that state of being overwhelmed with negative emotions.  While retaining the presence of stressors, the skin also plays host to thousands of species of microbes, bacteria, and fungus. Skin microbiota is the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that share the same space as our bodies. Emotions manifest themselves in a physical state with the symbiotic relationship that our skin has with these microorganisms within this series of work.

The process of creating this series of paintings began with conceptual sketches that would outline the general layout of the painting. A second general sketch was then made on the canvas and a base color was distributed in the designated areas according to the design. Color is an important element within my work and the brightness of the colors reflects the chemical reactions from the emotions being translated.  Each concept is meant to depict the emotional state in a physical and symbolic way that communicates the perception of an individual’s state of mind.