Artist's Statement

Roxanne Darling

Medium: Digital Photography Size: 16x24 I AM is a series of nude self-portraits in nature that are composed mostly in the Western U.S. and explore the solitude and contemplative environment of the vast and still largely unoccupied landscape. The experience of being in the natural environment was a place of solace for me during and after childhood difficulties. Though this project started as a side activity on a two-month trip, I discovered that landscape became a logical setting to explore personal and universal themes to be confronted through my art and photography. The images are performance pieces where my unclothed body, my gestures, and the surrounding natural elements, prompt questions about the meaning of vulnerability, nakedness, self-acceptance, and aging. Each piece is accompanied by a caption/title and a poem that expands the energy and the meaning of each image. I’m inviting the viewer to accompany me in the less obvious adventures being presented, to experience the freedom, privacy, restfulness, and self-assertion conveyed in the photographs. The images declare: I will not become invisible with age and I am content being alone. I’m playing with ideas often associated with women — consumerism, sexualizing the female form, and the judgments regarding artifice and decorations of women in society. The subject is present and often standing, bearing witness to the places and memories of the journey that led me there. In others, the subject is reclining, finally finding a state of rest and comfort from a life of struggles, while hiding behind norms and protocols. The character, my surrogate, is vulnerable, yet the scenes and accompanying words contrast the idea of fragility and exposure with empowerment.