This body of work addresses themes of agency, vulnerability and violence; it explores how these forces transform us, and what we do and do not have control over. Of particular concern are issues of violence against women and objectification of the female body. Much of this work is explored through self-portraiture as a way of pointing to the universal through the conduit of the self; it considers how subjective experiences with violence and objectification relate to the same concerns on a societal level.
This group of figurative sculptures are cast in metal which is imbedded with broken chards, and so the process to create them involves body-casting, breaking porcelain and glass, and casting bronze and aluminum. Body-casting is a method of indexical signification, meaning that the object (the human body) creates the form directly, without symbolism or interpretation. It acts as a specific record of a living, individual person and in this way, like a photograph, it implies truth or fact. Body casting also documents the singular moment of its creation, connoting life and death through the passage of time. Breaking porcelain or glass and incorporating of the sharp pieces is a way of indicating violence, pain and danger. The act of breaking also removes some control over the process; it is irrevocable and random. This lack of complete control over the outcome is part of the casting process as well. At each stage of casting (the mold, the wax and the cast metal) unintended transformations force a response.
The inherent characteristics of the materials used in this body of work relate to the content. Glass and porcelain are both fragile and sharp when broken, but they have meaning beyond that. Glass is employed for its relationship to light, and therefore, vision and further as a symbol of knowledge. Porcelain suggests the vessel, which is indicative of the internal human psyche and external body, while it also has a long history of symbolizing the universal female figure. Bronze is used to connote strength and permanence as well as indicate historical notions of beauty and value. These materials have further significance in that they all must undergo fiery processes in their production, much like the process of transformation required for recovery from trauma.
Parts of the body have special significance in this work, particularly the neck. The neck is used as concentrated symbol of simultaneous vulnerability and agency. Within the neck exists anatomy which is so vital to life: the spinal cord, esophagus, arteries, etc. Yet these parts are so unprotected and exposed. At the same time, the neck is the origin of the voice and speech is an extremely important source of power.
A native of Saint Louis, Sarah Bohn received her Bachelor of Fine Art Degree with a concentration in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Sarah’s artwork considers themes of trauma, recovery, violence, vulnerability and domestic abuse. She primarily works in cast bronze, and she also creates works on paper and large-scale public sculpture. Winner of the 2nd place Dennis DeToye award for the 2017 SIUE Sculpture on Campus Competition, Sarah has participated in numerous exhibitions at venues such as the Kranzberg Art Center, Art Saint Louis, Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, and Floodplain Gallery.