Vol 6 No 1 (2015)

Absent Subjectivity: Visual Art and the Critique of Medical Discourse

Rachel Thomas
University of Calgary
Published June 19, 2015


As a first year Master of Fine Arts student at the University of Calgary my sculptural research has become cross-disciplinary with mental health and medicine, particularly when it comes to compulsive self-mutilation. My practice involves careful consideration of research data in new treatments, pharmacological and cognitive therapies, as well as in situ volunteer work at the Calgary Distress Centre. These elements combined have helped me to develop a succinct critical lens with which I am able to explore this phenomenon. As a sufferer of depression comorbid with compulsive self-mutilation tendencies, I hope to elucidate on the subjective processes involved in the disorder through art making. Furthermore, having an integrated approach to my practice may provide medical communities with a way to further understand this disorder.