ALEXIS V. RAUSCH - ARTIST b. 1995
Living between the dichotomies of anxious and familiar, my work explores physical manifestations of borrowed memory and our relationship (and, often desensitization towards,) to contemporary perpetuations of violence. By creating visual and tactile tension between what attracts and repulses the viewer, I use religious iconography, digital-age ritualism, and the deterioration of the body to explore how we choose to neglect or memorialize these moments.
INDIVIDUAL STATEMENT: THE SINNERS WE ARE AND THE PSUEDO-GLORIFICATION OF VIOLENCE
At some point, we all become conscious of the danger of a gunshot. I was six, and my mother instructed me to lay face down on the seat of a parked Oldsmobile in order to stay safe from the stray bullets of a shootout next door. When the coast was clear, the cops assured each house that this was just “another drive-by that got out of hand”. In that scenario, as with many to come in my youth, there wasn’t a clear line between hero and villain. Law enforcement and civilian often played both roles or—sometimes—neither. As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed how my experiences in childhood have led to my own desensitization to violence.
This pattern is not exclusive to me or my upbringing. Violence is commodified and often indirectly encouraged by increased accessibility to disturbing imagery via the news and internet. My current work aims to question the consumption and glorification of violence in America while engaging with the experiences of others on a large scale in relation to my own. In addition, this work also explores the ways in which victims and perpetrators are represented and paid tribute to after their deaths. As people who inadvertently or intentionally observe violent acts through news or criminal fiction, we are placed in a position of moral responsibility. Are consumers of this genre of media merely fascinated observers, or are we glorifying the act of violence as another form of entertainment?
Print and video sources such as court documents, autopsy reports, and footage from police body cameras serve as reference material for my pieces. Desensitization to these sources is criticized through the use of Baker Miller pink, a color that coats isolation rooms for violent inmates in many state prisons, in each piece. Research has shown that exposure to these hues releases Oxytocin in the brain upon viewing, subconsciously calming the subject.
Renaissance religious art depicting Christian confessors and the damned, as a way to lead to the religious conversion of the viewer, also influences the compositions and media choices of my work. 16th century wax embalming techniques, traditional burial shrouds, and jacquard tapestry weaving are applied to the creation of contemporary objects used for comfort such as clothing items or blankets. Plush violent imagery with a religious subtext drenched in a Pepto-Bismol hue creates an ironic undertone that incites the viewer to examine their own relationship to violent media and the individuals involved.
This commentary is not only used as a tool for questioning cultural norms, but also as a mode for healing wounds and repossessing exploited trauma. Even if we are not physically committing a violent act, by participating in the spectacle of media coverage we engage in desensitization to human brutality, which bars us from empathy and keeps us face down on the backseat and removed from reality.
BFA, Magna Cum Laude,
Painting and Drawing Emphasis, University of Utah
Part-Time Apprentice at the Hein Academy of Art, UT
CUAC Utah Ties Exhibition Honorarium Recipient, Salt Lake City, UT
E.J. Bird Memorial Scholarship, Salt Lake City, UT
Fine Arts Departmental Scholarship, Salt Lake City, UT
Honorable Mention, Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition, Bountiful, UT
Utah State Fine Arts Advisory Board Scholarship, Salt Lake City, UT
BADMANTOWN, The Open Room, Sugarhouse, UT (Postponed)
Intrapsychic Paranoia, Getting Gallery, University of Utah, SLC, UT
The Sinners We Are, Bountiful Davis Art Center
Selected Group Exhibitions
35 x 35 Exhibition, Finch Lane Gallery, SLC, UT
Spirit of St. Louis, Rathaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart Germany
Paul Artspace 2019 Review, The Bermuda Project Gallery, Ferguson, MO
Hidden Voices, Woodbury Art Museum, Orem, UT
Statewide Juried Exhibition, Bountiful Davis Arts Center, Bountiful, UT
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot, Mestizo Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Ties, CUAC Art Center, Salt Lake City, UT
DAC Opening Show, Downtown Artist Collective, Salt Lake City, UT
Drawing on the Past Presented by Booooooom x Herschel Supply Co, Burrards Art Foundation, Vancouver, Canada