Samantha Hensel: San Francisco based emerging interdisciplinary artist currently graduating from the MFA program at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Current Artist Statement:

My work aims to create a safe space for contemplation and questioning of internal and external relationships to time, the body, space/place, trauma, and self-study. Through installation, performance, video, film, photography and poetry I offer an entrance into symbolism and storytelling. The work is rooted in healing, memory, and personal identity, taking form in physical representations of dualities of time and place, reflection and absorption. It navigates the mind and body’s archive, constructing and deconstructing perspective in a state of continuous alteration, rewriting, and reworking of an archived experience.

The work moves between contexts of childhood wonder and one’s personal reality of womanhood, diving into the idea that: “re-enchantment is not the same as enchantment” (Taussig). This narrative is activated through a place of nostalgia, utilizing Polaroid photography and motion picture film (super 8mm and 16mm), and morphs in and out of digital manifestations, domestic spaces, and intimate interactions. Objects are thoughtfully woven in and out of the explorations to symbolize the body, privilege of accessibility, and softness. Through the use of further distortion and residue, movement and stillness, I invite the viewer to see the passing of time, and to “arrive at non-arrival,” (Moten) — experiencing this intangible memory occasion in the present moment. Curiosities to the spaces in between are implied by careful use of negative space within the installations. Turning from a place of inwardness into a web of access points an initiative is to create conversation and deeper thinking about deeper thinking -- queued in by these intimate interactions of gesture. This is viewed as a part of the art itself, and within the process of contemplating memory and trauma.

In recent works I have been inspired by poetry and theory, from David Whyte: “I began to realize that my identity depended...on how much attention I was paying to things that were other than myself and that as you deepen this intentionality and this attention, you start to broaden and deepen your own sense of presence,” to Judith Butler: “This disposition of ourselves, outside ourselves, seems to follow from bodily life, from its vulnerability and its exposure,” Fred Moten, and Michael Taussig. As well as artists Maya Deren, Francesca Woodman, Duane Michals, Sarah Braman and Sarah Lucas.

Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence Fred Moten, Black and Blur
Michael Taussig, What Color is the Sacred?
David Whyte, On Being: The Conversational Nature of Reality