Brenda Labier

Brenda LaBier '99

(American, born 1965)

Nest, 2012

Pigment print mounted on Dibond

Courtesy of the artist

Artist's Statement:

Self-portraiture drawing on personal events is the dominant theme of

my confessional art. Nest reflects trauma, betrayal, truth in memory,

and identity that originate in my childhood. Past personal experiences

are interpreted through conflicting memories that are read and

decoded. I employ archetypal symbols charged with sexuality and

narrative; the relationship and language between my objects and colors

reconstruct the past and serve as cyphers for memories and emotions.

My art is symbolic and defined through ambiguous forms that depict a

conflation of time; everyday objects and color usage connote meaning.

In this work, red indicates sin, judgment, pain, and strong sensations,

both intimate and universal. Additionally, research on human memory,

particularly episodic memory, brought to my attention the distinction

between semantic and episodic memory, particularly regarding the

recollection of autobiographical events, which echoes in my work.

Memories are encoded to what happened and where and when it

happened. The codes, therefore, prompt the retrieval of memories.

The synthesis of method and materials directly reflects the conceptual

structure of my photography. This dynamic process thus connects me

to the objects in my autobiographical confessional art. Nest is morally

ambiguous, an emotional tension between the truth in memory and

collective identity. Fundamentally, it is a process of healing, serving

to unblock traumatic memories in order to maintain psychological

equilibrium, a purgative form of therapy – engaging the viewer with

physical beauty and unsettling pleasure.


Last Updated: 9/29/22