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Dani Clauson
Honors, 3D4M, Minor in Art History

I don’t seem to remember how this mirror state finds herself in this Emptiness. Eyes behold the state of body within the reflection, but there is no Self here.
I do not feel, can not feel, will not feel
My skin.
(don’t)(touch me)
For this erosional state is the sensitive presence of a discarded memory
Of what I thought it would be like
to become a ‘Woman’.

The site of the Self is a traumatized entity. The rupture of external/internal borders is subjective but when invaded can cause a separation between body and self. This disconnect is commonly known as dissociation: an archaic human survival tactic, where the body reacts and remembers, but the mind won’t have to. Placed in contemporary society, with continual stressors that cause physical, mental and emotional harm, dissociation is no longer a temporary state of Being. The perspective the mind has on the body in this continual state of disconnect is, to say the least, confused. The mind has the ability to stretch, fill, and distort components of the body without pragmatic vision of self image or the external environment. One can understand the body through memory of physical feeling, and be consumed by the disconnect that memory triggers. Finding a tactile connection to bring the mind back to the idea of safety in the body is a method of healing for those struggling with dissociation.

I find myself returning to clay, moving with the material to calm my own invasive dissociation. Clay, with its own sense of body, touch and memory, as well as its transformative nature from ephemeral to permanent, holds a metaphor of bodily trauma and its lasting effects. I utilize my ceramic techniques to expose bodily distortion and fragmentation with somatic forms that compel the viewer to meet both discomfort and familiarity. The work exposes bodily discoloration that speaks to physical yields and psychological trauma. The ceramic bodies are placed within or upon built settings that are rendered domestically familiar to reveal the origins of these physical disruptions.

My work aims to acknowledge trauma and counter dissociation through bringing forth a sensitive and intimate response. These artworks evoke empathy and reflection through the soft stillness of ceramic permanence and hollowed bodily form.

Dani Clauson is a queer non-binary ceramics artist who has been utilizing art as a mode of ‘speaking’ since they were a child. Dani utilizes their past experiences of domestic memories, trauma, and relationships to influence their work. They found clay as a freshman attending the University Of Montana, and have been touched by the material’s empathy, reciprocation, and bodily metaphor ever since. Clay has been crucial to healing and expressing their struggle with bodily connection and sense of safety. During their undergraduate years, they attended 4 different universities: University of Montana, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Tuscia, and University of Washington. Each setting has influenced their work, through interpersonal relationships, landscape inspiration, and location history. From the University of Washington they have received a BA with Honors in 3D4M, alongside a minor in Art History. They utilize their art history education to strengthen their art objects to speak upon the history of violence against the Feminine and its effects upon self image and understanding.