Kelly Ciurej is originally from Chicago, Illinois where she received her Bachelor’s degree from St. Xavier University in Art and Design. Currently pursuing her MFA at University of Hawaii at Manoa, through the use of photography, digital printing processes and performance she is interested in the dialogue surrounding the rethinking and re-presentation of photographic ‘evidence’ of familial narration; how images can be used in ways to re-contextualize subject matter and to question the reality or truths of past events. She has been exhibited nationally in both group and solo shows, and currently lives and works in Honolulu, Hawaii.
My photographic series Artificial Sweetener is an exploration of psychological “stickiness.” It examines relationships with the nuclear family, the incongruence between memory and photographic record, and the proliferation of manipulated realities via photography. Using material—which is largely gluttonous— itself as subject I am exploring the stickiness of certain psychological spaces that are internalized from familial experiences. The substances I use are often heavy, weighty, sweet, sugar-based. They are artificial ingredients, widely used in processed foods as well as within the household setting for baked goods. They express both excess and absence, as these particular substances are the epitome of ‘junk foods,’ high in additives and artificial sweeteners, but providing no value to the human body, oftentimes even causing it palpable harm. This material serves as a stand in for an inescapable, smothering stickiness of the psychological and emotional spaces I am exploring.
The basis of the work is an investigation of the ways in which photographs distort memories and instead create performed, invented realities. I am interested in the dialogue surrounding the rethinking and re-presentation of photographic ‘evidence’ of familial narration; how images can be used in ways to re contextualize subject matter and to question the reality or truths of past events.
To view more of Kelly’s work please visit her website.