An Incomplete Narrative: Works by Kaitlynn Blow

February 21st, 2020 – March 22nd, 2021

Kaitlynn Blow, Witness, 2018, digital photomontage, 20 x 16 inches

In celebration of the 50th Year of Women at Union College, the Wikoff Student Gallery will be producing exhibitions this year which focus on female-empowering themes. Through the filter of dreams and fears, senior visual arts major and winner of the 2020 William B. Jaffe (1926) Art Award, Kaitlynn Blow, confronts the ghosts of violence against women in her exhibition, An Incomplete Narrative. She constructs a Surrealist-inspired photographic record, augmented by animations replete with childhood tropes that take the viewer into hypnotic recitations of past incidents, meditations on women’s rights, and on a foreboding, fairytale-like journey intended to incite perseverance and transformation in deference to our fate.

“In these projects, I examine society’s lack of change as generations of women continue to tell the same stories and face the same problems. I use my art to call for social change because our loved ones are suffering and this shouldn’t be the norm. Yet, I think nearly every woman has a story or knows someone affected by sexual violence, as reflected by the cultural event that is the #MeToo movement. So, I use my art to express the emotions and stories women have faced, and continue to face, and to explore my own personal identity in relation to a society that has wronged my gender in so many ways. I would like to think that expressing the experiences of countless women who have a story to tell is how we get society to change. To do this, I have been particularly inspired by the Surrealist movement; and I think exploring the subconscious, our dreams and fears, helps in expressing the human condition and hopefully furthers empathy, awareness, and understanding.

The eyes are a repeating iconography in my work. I think eyes are very expressive and symbolic because you don’t know what those eyes have seen, and yet there is a sense of tension, pressure, and expectation. Whether protective or judgmental, these anonymous eyes are witnessing with us the brutality and savagery inside each image. To me, especially in this series of images, they represent the eyes of children who have seen or experienced abuse, showing the destruction of innocence, a theme that carries on throughout these pieces.”

– Kaitlynn Blow, Class of 2020