Madeline McQuillan
email:  mmcquill@pratt.edu
Instagram: @madelinemcqart
madelinemcquillan.myportfolio.com


With inspiration from phenomena of light and visual mis-registration, my work over the last academic year has used the material aspect of photography to explore the relationship between internal and external images.  Surreal scapes are formed through the dynamic of the prints imposing on a given environment.  Creating an experience of spaces which is separate from a widely perceived reality functions differently across the work: some create hypnotic moments of respite from the outside world and provide a chance for the viewer to not only accept, but enjoy, an illusion, while others are more overtly disturbing visualizations of traumatic associations to a particular place.  It is important  for the work to balance a playful sense of seeing and searching as a grounding and healing act of levity with the images that are psychologically troubling.  This combination acts as a representation of what needs to be done when the mind and memory of the body is triggered.  Images 5-14 use this framework: Image 5 and 6 have a sense of beauty to them, Images 7-10 focus on the process of re-grounding, and images 11-14 are representations of bodily memory triggered by a space.  The act of making this project is both a celebration of the healing process and an acknowledgement of how difficult confronting those recurring memories may be.

In Images 1-4, photographs were taken of personal objects that had been chosen to characterize a private space. Many of these objects contain images of or alluding to women, which speaks to the perception of the female presence as a reproducible physical object distilled into tropes, focusing on the personal and cultural significance of Catholic prayer/ funerary cards with the Virgin Mary. The photographs of those objects were printed repeatedly and they were rephotographed at night, giving the reproductions lives of their own as they point to spirituality and the powerful presence of the images we choose to surround ourselves with daily.

Recreating illusions of the mind or the eye to create a surreal experience shows how pervasive illusions can be, and by identifying illusions, we, as viewers, can decide to remain within them or not. This work invites the viewer to sit with an illusion and find peace in not seeing/ knowing/ understanding/ remembering the complete image.