Patricia Voulgaris interrogates angst plus rage, and what it means to become a feeling human

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The particular photographer’s practise uses motion and performance to utilize the power of anger

When I spoke in order to Patricia Voulgaris in early February 2022, she was at home in New York. Our conversation veered from my pre-planned questions almost instantly as she described her anxiety of being a good emerging artist. This state of perpetual turmoil, captured between a desire for freedom while dependent on the market for survival, can be exhausting plus demoralising. “I’m functioning from a specifically dark place, ” she tells me. “I often feel like this ghostly shape wandering on the earth, and I’m trying to prove our existence. ” 

In order to untangle Voulgaris’ practice, it is essential to comprehend that she describes her photographs as ‘cursed’. They may be a framework to unapologetically grapple with the difficult and unsettling challenges of everyday lifetime. Her work is grounded in performance, gesture plus ritual. Every image is really a portal – an invitation to the viewer to reach beneath the surface and embrace the darkness. “My practice functions somewhere between chaos and purchase, ” she explains. “Order provides stability while disorder creates opportunities for growth and exploration. I location myself and others (often the girl partner and parents) in to situations where we along push our bodies to capture an exchange. The exchange is reaching for an optical illusion. A moment where actions influence supernatural forces, leaving us teetering between fact plus fiction. ” 

© Patricia Voulgaris.

© Patricia Voulgaris.

Since 2013, Voulgaris has resisted categorisation. Informed from the Riot Grrrl movement and 70s performance artists like Bas Jan Ader and Ana Mendieta , her work disassembles notions of femininity, queerness, and our roles in society. She occupies a liminal space, invested in asking our cultural obsession along with photographic truth and its romantic relationship to power. Her desire for the mystical is a method to complicate these ideas additional, opening up a fraught psychological pace to animate the particular pervasiveness of invisible allows. Over time, picture-making has become a type of emancipation. A way to extrapolate himself from this world while summoning a deeper interrogation associated with what it means to be human.

In The Hunter , she explores thoughts of violence. The task reckons with the way assault permeates our society while simultaneously acknowledging the trend we hold within. Systems are tangled, contorted into impossible forms, forced into the shadows or eclipsed simply by smoke and flames. Beguiling symbols of entrapment, struggling and the disorientating reality of being caught between two realms recur repeatedly. In our perpetually destabilised world, the project is relatable, chaotic, and eerily foreboding.  

© Patricia Voulgaris.

© Patricia Voulgaris.

© Patricia Voulgaris.

“Over time, I realized I am a violent girl, and anger can be a life changing force. Rather than let individuals define me as some type of monster, I want to show that it’s vital and strengthening. ”

“I’m just really sick and tired of pretty images, ” Voulgaris says. “What about the folks who see the world for what? We’ve got to move past the top. Tell me what’s inside of you. Because women, we are expected to curb our darkness. There is no escaping this pressure to be some thing or someone. I feel such as I’m always having to take up this different character, and am want to be myself and live in a world where we accept one another. ” She provides: “Over time, I realised I am a violent female, and anger can be a transformational force. Rather than let individuals define me as some kind of monster, I want to show that will it’s vital and strengthening. ”

In many ways, The Hunter is an act of self-love. Voulgaris is reclaiming and validating her rage through exploring the messy, more dark sides of ourselves. Her articulation provides a lifeline for anybody who wrestles with hiding their inner demons.  

© Patricia Voulgaris.

Gem Fletcher

Creative director, writer, podcaster and photo director, Gemstone Fletcher works across visual-cultural fields, focusing on emerging talent in contemporary photography plus art. She is the image director of Riposte Magazine, and hosts a photography podcast, The Messy Reality.

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