How do you ever recover from a traumatic experience? For Brooklyn-based embroidery artist Caroline Wayne she explores the process of healing through her own history of sexual abuse.
In her latest body of work, her rounded soft felt forms are adorned with sequins, pearls, beads – packed and overlapping like armour. Thumbtacks pointed side up in a mechanism of defence. Scenes scroll around the circumference of objects like ancient storytelling vessels, depicting distant memories and dreams.
On show at Brooklyn's A.I.R Gallery from 15 November, the artworks have an apparent beauty to them. But they also hint at Wayne’s lifelong efforts to reshape and help process a complicated and traumatic past.
Of her work, the gallery says: "She aims to bring awareness to the suffering a body can accumulate over time through onerous mark-making. Through the artist's cyclical path through healing, she aims to acknowledge the overlooked stories of trauma survivors, where the pain may lay not in the traumatic event itself but in the way one has to navigate their world for a lifetime after."
Entitled Grown Cyclone, the exhibition will feature several new embroidered totem pieces, as well as full-scale wall drawings, and an unflinching mini-memoir detailing tales of sex, dating, and love based on common patterns of trauma bonding. This book, also titled Grown Cyclone, will be on view in the gallery.
An excerpt reads (which some may find disturbing): "The fact was that everyone I’d been involved with, since my first attempt at coupling with boys in grade school to the last sociopath I fucked, in one way or another resembled my father…I was set spinning on this path of intimate self-sabotage since the very first time my father inappropriately touched me while I lay helpless on the changing table..."
Grown Cyclone runs from 15 November at Brooklyn's A.I.R Gallery.