Installed in the Emerson Contemporary Gallery April-May 2021
The multimedia installation Blind/Blend (2019-Present) explores perceptual awareness. This project addresses the topic of visual acumen and alternate ways of seeing the world due to her own visual impairment. Through original stereo cards, videos, and layered photographs on silk, she invites the audience to engage in active forms of looking and perceiving the world around them.
By reversing the left and right sensory channels of a stereoscopic image, Severance’s photographs force the brain to misinterpret the distance of objects, switching the foreground and background in the images. Through this process, the stereoscopic images confuse the brain’s understanding of depth. Additionally, with the use of the Holmes stereo viewer, being able to slide the photos closer or away from the observer’s face while peering through the lenses is akin to visiting the optometrist. Just as the doctor tries different lenses with their patient’s eyes to find the perfect adjustment to see text (or in this case images) as they are intended, each individual will find their own optimal viewing position.
Alternatively, using soft and shallow focusing techniques with her camera, she subverts the audience’s expectations of a highly detailed visual experience. By lining up and creating gaps between the suspended layers of printed silk, these translucent fabrics provide a holographical effect. Spectators can move closer towards each portrait to gain clarity of the person’s features or away from the layers to see just general colors, lines, and shapes. Severance’s creation of this visual format forces the viewer to look for other ways to identify the subject from afar as simulates the experience of someone with limited vision.
Through this near-sighted perspective, Severance invites the viewer to consider if it is important to recognize the exact identity of the represented image or can they accept it as something unique and beautiful on its own.
Shades of Empowerment:
Voices Aired on the Line
Installed in the Huret Spector Gallery 2019
Shades of Empowerment: Voices Aired on the Line is a multimedia art installation dealing with the theme of identity. Thirteen millennial women share their thoughts and personal narratives as their corresponding shadows projected onto domestic fabrics hung on clotheslines.
The focal point of the piece is the interwoven narrative provided by the women’s responses to five specific questions:
What are some of the challenges you face day to day?
What are some of your fears and anxieties that might keep you awake at night?
What vexes or frustrates you?
What are things that inspire you or bring you happiness?
What are your hopes and dreams?
These prompts serve as a sounding board for discussion These women’s answers offer a
spectrum of both unique reflection and common connecting threads woven throughout their answers. By rendering their appearance as silhouettes, the portraits of the subjects are more referential and instead place emphasis on their voices.