I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) after starting to feel pain in my body in 2012. This illness causes severe widespread pain located in my connective tissue which debilitates my day to day life. The world’s awareness of disability is minimal and its awareness of chronic illness is even less. I receive daily comments that often offend me and my body. Every time I go out with a mobility aid, I hear things like: “What happened to you?” and “You gotta gimp?” Others are uncomfortable, confused, and not afraid to question the validity of my disability.
In my artwork, I tell stories using the dolls to portray the feeling of chronic pain and invisibility. These micro-vignettes portray daily life scenes of the chronically ill. Red knots of thread stitch the ceramic to the fabric to force these different tensions in the body to coexist. The stitching relates to the stabbing pain and mending of chronically ill bodies. The ceramic and fabric materials provide a contrast, like the strong pain I feel and my fragile, soft body. The cracking textures on the surface of the dolls speak to the strong emotional baggage that comes with the inescapable pain. There is a broken sense of self; there is a hatred of being in a body that knows nothing but shooting pain. These little scenes provide a deep look into the physical, emotional, pain-filled life. The dolls are accompanied by household items like a bed or couch that I desperately rely on when facing my illness.
These distorted dolls reveal emotions and pain beyond words that I feel about myself and my illness. I hope they can provoke the audience to think about what they might be taking for granted.
Instagram: @carlyriegger http://www.instagram.com/carlyriegger
If you wish to purchase any of these pieces, please contact the gallery director, Jacqueline Nathan (email@example.com.)