Portfolio > Curio

A miracle or mistake? Not dissimilar from previous works, this series once again attempts to conduct self- analysis in the visual form. A life-long fascination with anything extraordinary, peculiar, or not easily explained has recently led me to explore the world of the sideshow freak. At first revered as wonders of nature and then later viewed as abominations of the same, I saw an interesting opportunity for me to equate my own psychology to their physiology. In each piece I take an image of myself and transmute it to reflect an aspect of my psyche that I found communicated solely through their physicality. Viewing images of the performers and reading recounts of their colorful lives lead me to understand that their bodies, their physical shells, held the power to evoke self-awareness in each individual that paid their few cents to see them dressed and put up for display.
Every image works in duality, both attractive and repulsive, religious and profane, plausible and impossible, didactic and enigmatic, a window and a mirror and as a gift and a curse.
For the viewer these images work as a Rorschach test of sorts. Are they viewed with pity or delight, disgust or disinterest, or as truth or fabrication? I reveal myself, albeit somewhat coded, so that viewer might reveal themselves to themselves. Regardless of how they are understood, they are a curiosity nonetheless.

Sheila Talbitzer
MFA Thesis 2006