Artist’s Statement of Terry Towery

The origins of this work go back approximately ten years to work I did while a graduate student at the University of Florida. I began to extend the photographic process by manipulating the surface of the images using a variety of materials. In the earlier work the subject matter was the unseen landscape of Florida. The new work comes from a dialog with my own aging body.

The decline of the body is a universal natural process but is also always a highly personal process as well. No matter who the individual is, the decline of the physical body is a scary and sobering experience. Realizing that your body doesn’t react the way it did when you were twenty is a painful discovery. These pieces are an exploration of this process of decline and aging.

I am interested in the decay of the figure. Traditional classical figurative art fictionally uplifts the figure to some kind of idealized form. This is not my intention or goal. The figure as it is in decline is my interest.

There is also both a fear and a desire to procreate and have children that becomes stronger as I age. There is both a strong attraction to children as well as a fear of loss of independence. This attraction/repulsion is apparent in the surfaces of the work; beauty in decay. I am working in that space between ugly and beautiful.

Picasso’s famous quote " every act of creation is also an act of destruction" plays a large part in these works. I have a strong attraction to decay and a fascination with destruction. This is part of the creative process in the work.

I find that by using dolls in lieu of human models I can be specifically metaphorical but not metaphorically specific. The dolls are both human and non-human simultaneously, they are suggestive without being specific.

The digital process precludes physical interaction with the artwork. It is a very clinical, sterile form of creativity. Part of the creative process of these pieces is the desire to make a mess and get physically involved in the creative process. By extending the process after the image is out of the computer, I can add qualities not found in purely digital works. For example; too often digital art has no surface quality to it. There is a strong desire to make the work have a presence through the surface quality that cannot be experienced through reproduction.

Just as there are artists that use photography and there are photographers that are artists, there are artists that use digital media and there are digital artists. I am not really interested in photography nor am I interested in digital art. I am interested in using these tools to create art.