Wednesday, January 27, 2010

5 x 5 Submission 20 - Nikki Mull

Nikki Mull
Nikki Mull's Website

I was born and raised in a rural town in Eastern Idaho known only for being the first city in the world to be lit by Atomic Power...and only for two hours. I received both my BFA and MFA at Idaho State University before moving to the Northwest to attend the Seattle Film Institute. Currently, I live in Seattle with my husband and a black cat named Banana.

About the work:

It was suggested that I start with a self-portrait. However, the twelve paintings of myself that followed did not do so as portraits of my character any more than they remain completely faithful to my outward appearance. My form became a surface that I draped with the dresses of martyrs. I peeled crimson paint from the canvases of masters in hopes to borrow a few moments in which to bleed.

Death is a persistent thought. I see the absurdity of living immersed in a culture where the world’s suffering becomes a spectator sport that can be watched comfortably from living room couches. Without knowing a real struggle, I foolishly imagine death: blinding white drenched in heavy red, blood in the snow, and silence.

For this series, I searched art history for images that portrayed blood. Not mere cuts that bled, but wounds of symbolic selflessness, struggle, accomplishment. Some portrayed martyrs bleeding for a cause. Some bled in personal torment. I found that the pain of assassination disappeared under the serene face of Marat and that glowing hollow of Cato’s chest betrayed his silent screams of pain. I saw blood in the innocent cloth held by Soutine’s pastry chef, I opened the cut under Van Gogh’s bandage, and I imagined the life flowing out onto the sash of Dali’s dreamer. To my body, I pinned on the wounds like costumes, playing dress up with cultural, political, religious and personal artifacts borrowed from history. Sometimes I felt content. At other times I felt disgusted. Often, I was indifferent.

In starting with a self-portrait, I ended up with twelve women each in silent reflection as red paint stained their fingertips, blinded their vision, and soaked their bed sheets. Blood is a persistent image in my mind, conjuring thoughts of not only death, but also life. Sometimes between white light and black shadows there appear sanguine incidents of red.

To submit work for 5 x 5 , email

Check out our blog for more information: 5 x 5 Information

Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2010

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