Andréa Keys Connell
I build my figures hollow, starting with a toe, then moving upwards, forming each section of the body by pressing the clay from the inside outward. In this sense my process mirrors the major themes of my work: how trauma transforms the interior life of individuals. The constant pressure I apply distorts and swells the figures. My ultimate aim is to dissolve the characteristics of gender, age, and time. By removing these definitions I am attempting to remove the authority of their constraints, to encounter pain unencumbered by their weight, and to represent trauma as it is most viscerally experienced.

The absence of these constructs gives an ambiguity to my figures that doesn’t only question implied rules of gender, age, and time. Their ambiguity allows me to explore the burden of our most enduring archetypes. These archetypes are well known: the hero, the martyr, and the warrior, are several I have explored. I am interested in how these archetypes impose mythic expectations and pre-existing narratives that exile individuals from their own experiences. If archetypes exist to give a definition and meaning to existence, my work explores what happens when they implode upon the person.

Often the body language of my sculptures suggests there is something that only they can see. The viewer witnesses a representation of their pain undefined by constructs. Here, I hope, the viewer’s reaction points them to what might be the most raw and illicit opposite of pain - empathy, compassion, and even the beginnings of love.