Thy Creature (2015)

This project responds to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein. The creature at the heart of this story is an object of both fascination and revulsion. Like all monsters, he exists outside of normative standards and in doing so represents our most fearful selves. This project is an investigation into the complex nature of this archetypical monster that inspires both fear and pity.

One of the many themes within the novel is the creator’s struggle to accept what (s)he has created. In Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters cultural theorist Judith Halberstram describes the story as “an allegory about a production that refuses to submit to its author.” The creature’s evasiveness is, in part, what engages my interest.

This series of ink drawings on rice paper responds to Boris Karloff’s iconic representation of the monster, presented within James Whales’ Frankenstein films from the 1930s. Karloff’s iconic representation has come to stand for the very idea of a monster.

Through the process of repetition and accumulation, as well as the vagaries of the process and materials used, the drawn images of the monster’s face shift and transform. These transformations, from one image to the next, suggest the creature’s lived experience, as well as the externalization of the psychic projections we bring to his story.

Frankenstein’s monster is fascinating not because he is so alien, but because he embodies our fears and anxieties about our own mortality, alienation and difference––he represents our own most monstrous selves.

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