Laura D'Alessandro | Artist Statement
"Layers: Constructing the Feminine"
Vision is, to me, a complicated phenomenon composed of multiple layers that alter with varied states. I incorporate layering in my images to evoke the layers of my internal and external experiences. The artist’s life, recorded through my journals and portraits, is essential to my work, in fact being much of what I incorporate into my photographic constructions. I use these fragments and elements of collage – as well as found objects, at times – to create a sort of miniature stage set, a movie still from a fictitious moment in time. By controlling lighting and perspective when I ultimately re-photograph my constructions, I can create a mood and direct the viewer’s gaze.
I explore women’s issues with a partly lyrical, partly satirical approach. I have investigated the many influences, both positive and negative, which act to shape women’s beliefs, choices, and appearance. I borrow from the past and present, moving onward to the future. My journals, which I have kept since the age of nine, are very pertinent tools for this inner dialogue. From my journals and the past, I have investigated memories, dreams, and childhood fears. By analyzing my personal roles as a woman and as a first generation Italian-American who grew up with strict Catholic parents, I have accumulated many elements which I incorporate into my artistic expression. I have also learned the importance of crediting the historical personalities that have changed my world. For example, I have created a series of photographs of women whom I admire, including Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, Emily Dickinson, Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. In the photographs, I meshed my portrait with theirs, as an illustration of what remains within me from their legacy. My images are at once self-portraits of my varied selves and representations of intensely diverse aspects of my personality. Furthermore, through my photographs I am satiating my curiosity for lifestyles unfamiliar to me, permitting myself to live multiple lives – I become mother, an Arab, or a writer hundreds of years ago . . . In the present, I celebrate the awakening of my sexuality, popular culture, and current issues. I represent not only myself, but also Everywoman.