I Remember How I Felt: Self Portraits 1995-2022

While cleaning up the studio, I retrieved a box of Polaroid self-portraits I had taken in the mid 1990’s. They were time exposures and I remember attempting to hold a particular expression for a period of 2 minutes. I decided to take them out of the box and pin them to the wall. Peering into each, I remember with some clarity how I felt. So, more than 30 years later, employing the original Polaroids along with printed enlargements, I completed the piece, I Remember How I Felt. As I remembered a particular emotion associated with a portrait I would write it on the bottom of the photograph; grief, pain, anger, joy, surprise, etc. I thought it was interesting how one can quite accurately remember emotions when looking at photographs of oneself, yet that reflective insight  is not necessarily present when looking at portraits of others. 

A 64 page artist book titled The Department accompanies I Remember How I Felt. A compendium of sorts, the pages of the book reprint the Polaroid self portraits and include text printed on opposing pages. Examples of the text: [Vigilance] [Loathing] I wrote his name on a small piece of paper and put it in the freezer along with the frozen peas, [Doubt] [Guilt] I wondered if I had done the right thing in telling the whole story to the harassment officer, [Helplessness)] My student told me he had raped her, [Outrage] Unbeknownst to me he had taken his graduate students on a tour of my studio and they had a critique of my work. [Contempt]  Because she rebuked his advances he said we should get rid of her, [Disappointment]  The lawyer informed me that ‘bullying’ was not considered ‘harassment’ ….

I consider I Remember How I Felt, a companion piece to Passing Comments and The Academy which are personal and poetic reflections on my time spent as a young faculty member in a visual arts department in the 1980’s and 90’s.