Sarah Cusimano Miles


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Artist Statement

People create meaning from human experience in part, by investing emotional attachments to objects that may seem meaningless to others. By filtering and transforming experience through personal attitude, memory, and culture, people form perceptions, and these ideas may be held for a person in the smallest of tokens, collections, and photographs. Emotional investment in objects and how the perception of those objects may shift from person to person is a partial focus of this body of work. As objects are removed from their intended environment and placed in combination with other material, new associations and connotations arise. As an object grows farther from its source the original personal meaning becomes diluted, and a more ubiquitous association can be inferred. When combined with other objects the interpretation can vacillate between internal and external, and subjective and objective meaning. Many of the objects I choose to photograph are metaphors for the body and directly allude to the flesh. In this way I hope to embrace the human element without actually including a literal figural representation. The photographs are not about objects per se, but I use objects and their symbolic associations to comment on the psychology of human experience.

I see these photographs as dealing with the psychological complexity of painful experiences and the beauty therein, and the allure of beauty and the pain therein. Despite metaphors or symbols one may use to clarify associations in the mind, veracity slides in and out of shadows, passing through light, allowing only quick glimpses of definition for the attentive. Conceptually, as well as visually, I am interested in that place where positive and negative blend, light transcends darkness, and darkness fades to light.