Silence. Words are gone, and the simplest sentence seems impossible to formulate. It's not about fear of speaking, but loosing the actual ability to use language to communicate experience. At its foundation, this group of photographic works and mixed-media installations by Augusta, GA based artist, Katie Harris, is her way of attempting to piece together fragments of unprocessed memory. Currently, the work is presented as a single, large series, however there are two distinct chapters in the work: the first is the initial visualization of the processing of trauma, and the second is the direct analysis of the aftermath.
In both phases of the work, the inability to verbalize trauma is foregrounded, and subconscious, physical manifestations are all that remain. With words gone, the power to heal and process unspeakable horrors shifts to the use of metaphor. Harris employs a visual language of coded, symbolic references that are repeated through the body of work. These symbols contribute to a visual syntax- a new, intimate language as a means of communicating with the viewer. Because of the ambiguity this visual language brings, viewers have the ability to conjure up some of what Harris has experienced while also being able to interpret the work based on their own unique personal experience.
Chapters 1 & 2 of Neurotoxic Peace was displayed in March 2020 at the Cedar House Gallery in Savannah, GA. Currently, Chapter 3, "Residuum" is in progress. To follow along with the creation on work, follow @katieharris.art on instagram.
In addition to the exhibition, a limited edition custom book was created by the artist. The original copies of 20 books with hand-tipped vellum pages were sold (signed, edition, and embossed for authenticity). Below are some behind the scenes of this creation. In this, selected biblical and psychological texts are juxtaposed on the vellum pages, and when. combined with the work sequencing and titles of each work, the story of Neurotoxic Peace comes to life.