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about the artist

Hannah DeWitt is a young artist living and working in Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently earning her BFA at Spalding University and remains a part of the Kentucky College of Art and Design (KyCAD) community.

artist statement

I'm Hannah Grace DeWitt, and I want to make something that means something. That's what most (if not all) of my endeavors are in pursuit of. As both an artist and an activist, my goal is to provoke positive change. My art pieces make statements about issues such as mental illness and sexual assault, serving as a call to action towards the viewer.

My work is interdisciplinary, as I don't like to limit myself to one medium and I find that the most interesting art comes from an interdisciplinary or even “adisciplinary” studio practice. I range from freelance illustrations, charity zines, and narrative video game design and production, to what some might consider to be more Fine Art--specifically sculpture and performance art.

In my body of work, Feminist Theory of Trauma, I wrestle with the concept of trauma. While in some ways I work autobiographically, my goal is to demonstrate something more universally applicable than a personal narrative alone. Using references from folklore (such as in my charity zine benefiting the Center for Women and Families, Little Red Riding Hood) and art history (such as in my performance Pudica), I am making comments on sexual exploitation and oppression from real-world sources that have been influencing people for hundreds of years.

My performance Pudica explores the objectification of women in the most literal sense of the term. In reference to sculptures of the bathing Venus in classical antiquity, I pose in a series of Medici Venus and Venus Pudica stances. In the traditional depiction of these poses, the modesty of the Venus acts more of a means of erotic tension than that of “purity.” By watching Venus bathe, she maintains the fetishized purity that can only be accessed through voyeurism. Subverting the scopophilic male gaze, I stare back at the viewer, holding both their hands and gaze unapologetically.

In another example, my ceramic sculpture Me Too features imprinted hands on a female torso, showing the damage and lasting impression of non-consensual touch. These indented handprints leave bruising and irritation on the body, expressing more than just the force used to leave them, but the long-term effects on the survivor. In response to the #metoo movement, this work is autobiographical with the intention of making these crimes known to the public as more than just a statistic.

I can be found on instagram @dewyhannah