My prints and drawings seek to challenge normative readings of the culturally and scientifically constituted body through the use of text. This body is a body that is complete and never changing, a body that is individual and closed, a body that is readable, and a body known through sight. These ideas are constructed by ideological structures such as language and objectivity, as well as cultural institutions like hospitals. In my work, I don’t seek to denounce these ideological structures and institutions (as my relationship to them is one of necessity) but rather to suggest ways of rethinking the constructed body that are more beneficial to, and understanding of, bodies that don’t fit into these norms.
I utilize processes of drawing and printmaking, such as copper plate etching, monotype, lithography, and artists’ books. These printmaking methods produce textures and marks that are very bodily, specifically the printed mark acting as an image relating to scarring, rubbing, or touching. My work utilizes the appropriation of medical imagery, such as dermatology textbook figures and diagrams of the body contrasted against textural mark-making. I also contrast forms of writing such as indexes and clinical documents with personal and theoretical writing that explores my own relationship to illness as well as themes of how the patient body is written and recorded.
Image: Constant, Immediate, Benjamin Merritt, Etching, monoprint, 2019-2020