I don’t know why this happened, but it did is an autobiographical project exploring the experience of mental illness. It deals with a period of my life that began when, at age fifteen, I suffered a major mental breakdown and was subsequently diagnosed with severe clinical depression.
The piece is a handmade quilt, pieced together from silk-screened documents from my psychiatric file. They are a record in black and white, the primary documents of what I went through that say, “this happened”. For me the evidence contained in my medical records is validating and comforting.
The goal of this work is to translate a devastating experience into a cathartic one through the process of art making; to make sense of what happened to me, and ultimately come to peace with it. In a larger sense, the goal of this piece is to contribute to the discourse surrounding mental illness and to transform my own life experience into an aesthetic experience for the viewer.
Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work which icludes photography, film, painting, printmaking, textiles, installation, and performance, since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.
Curated by Helena Frei & Chris Mitchell, Hard Twist 10 Memory winds its way through textiles, a constant thread that runs through the earliest archaeological fragments, the latest experimental synthetics and everything in between. Textiles hold memory, recall memory, record – and occasionally obscure – memory. In some recent incarnations they even have memory. Opening reception on September 10th 7-10pm on the 3rd and 4th floors galleries. On view August 27, 2015 to December 27, 2015 on the 3rd and 4th floors of the hotel.