“The term hysteria comes from the Greek word “hysterika”, meaning Uterus. In ancient Greece it was believed that a wandering and discontented Uterus was blamed for that dreaded female ailment of excessive emotion, hysteria.” Source: Hysteria and the Wandering Womb
I was diagnosed with Stage 1 endometrial cancer and had to undergo a complete hysterectomy. I embarked upon this series in an attempt to fathom and artistically represent the emotional and physical changes that my body is going through.
The dress is the center stage upon which my drama unfolds and speaks to my sense of a lost femininity due to the loss of my womb. Symbols from a tarot card reading done prior to the procedure refer to my surgery and psychological response.
Photographs of my body, medical procedures, and human conflict are some of the actors in my performance.
I use a variation on the antiquarian lumen printing process to obtain the images of the dresses. The original lumen process used plant material placed on photosensitive paper and exposed by the sun.
For this work I place baby dresses onto black and white photo paper and place this outdoors for the sun to expose so I can obtain the numinous haint-blue ghost like images. I then combine these dresses with other photographic methods to obtain the final images.
About the artist:
Diane Fenster's art first received notice during the era of early experimentations with digital imaging. Her work has been called an important voice in the development of a true digital aesthetic. She views herself as an alchemist, using digital tools to delve into fundamental human issues. Her work is literary and emotional, full of symbolism and multiple layers of meaning. Her images have appeared in numerous publications on digital art. She has been guest lecturer at many seminars and conferences, her work has been internationally exhibited and is part of museum, corporate and private collections. Her images appear in numerous publications on digital art including the APERTURE monograph METAMORPHOSES: PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE ELECTRONIC AGE, WOMEN, ART AND TECHNOLOGY published by MIT press, and ART IN THE DIGITAL AGE edited by Bruce Wands, School of Visual Art, NYC.
She is now exploring starker imagery that has its roots in alternative process, image transfer and photo-encaustic. Moscow Photo Awards, Honorable Mention for the What We Leave Behind series. Silver Award, Tokyo International Foto Awards for HY•ST•ER•IA: Body as Battleground. 12TH Julia Margaret Cameron Awards-Honorable Mentions in the series categories for Fine Art and Digital Manipulation for images from the series HY•ST•ER•IA: Body as Battleground. 2018 Pollux Awards, Finalist in the Fine Art and Digital Manipulation categories for series HY•ST•ER•IA: Body as Battleground. Her work was exhibited in the 4th Biennale of Fine Art and Documentary Photography in Berlin, she received Honorable Mentions in the 9th Pollux Awards, 7th, 8th, 11th and 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards and the Moscow Photo Awards, included in the Alternative Process exhibit juried by Christopher James at the Texas Photo Society and published in the DIFFUSION ANNUAL 2016. Diane Fenster and the Wandering Womb (Hysteria series) was recently published in Harvard's OD REVIEW. Also published in WOTISART Magazine, HEALTH AND HEALING, Femme Fotale Volume VI, and UNDEREXPOSED MAGAZINE. Hysteria images were selected for the National Photography Competition-Developed Work at the Midwest Center for Photography. Her work will appear in the upcoming DIFFUSION X journal.She continues to be included in many exhibits in museums and galleries both in the USA and abroad.
To view more work by the artist, please visit www.lensculture.com/diane-fenster. You may also follow the artist on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dianefensterphotography, as well as Instagram @dianefenster.
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