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Hillary Smith

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University of Manitoba, 2013, BFA Hons
University of the Arts London, 2015, MA Fine Art


Foucault’s “Birth of the Clinic” has been a large inspiration to my work and has led me to explore concepts concerning symptoms, identity, and the notion that we die and are aware of the finitude of our existence in this world. I am fascinated with the layers of symptoms that make up an affliction, be it mental or physical, or even just a present state of feeling. Foucault tells us that, “18th century thought labeled those that contradict the essential truth interferences. My practice explores these interferences and attempts to transform the intangible to something visual.

Through art, and through the displaying and presenting of artistic thought, we can achieve a better understanding of our conditions and learn to accept that the abnormal is still a form of regularity, which is another concept from Foucault's writings which resonates with me and my practice. My work looks at illness from the illness’s perspective. When we analyze our physical or mental state we comb through a series of indicators or symptoms that signify a root entity. There is a tendency to separate the invading symptoms and unwanted entities as foreign and abnormal. We look at it as the enemy, or as something that should be removed. But where my interest lies is in what happens to it once it has been extracted. Where does it exist? What are its feelings on being dejected from its life source?  

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