Artist's Statement

Victoria Febrer
My interest in visual images centers around the relationship of the universal and the personal. Rather than being in opposition to each other, these form a relationship that can lead to further insight. My work probes this idea in various ways, but my principal interest began with meditations on the mechanism of memory and its parallels to the production of images. In our process of memory, a simple image – one that we might call universal – can prompt the viewer to recall far more than what is depicted. I seek to activate personal memory by reducing images to their most basic components. I utilize simplified, familiar and repeated elements to act as a stimulus for recalling images which are then colored by the viewer’s unique experience and point of view.

This process can be expressed on a material level. The resulting variations dependent on the structured repetition in printmaking are not unlike the differences our personal experiences bring to oft-repeated and familiar images. Materials and processes where there exist both a cooperation with and an opposition to structured and recurring elements allow me to investigate the repetition of archetypes and the resulting anomalies. I make use of paint, video projections, and also red wine (the last through a process I developed called vinography) not only to explore our relationship to representations of place and landscape, but also to traditional images of women.

The transformative and universalizing power of images also had a great influence in my childhood. Growing up in a family of Spanish immigrants in Astoria, I often had to mediate between different cultures, and as a result became interested in the depth of discourse that could result without a common written or spoken language. I found images which repeatedly manifested themselves through culture, geography, and time. The variations in these recurring forms provide insights into our unique place and position, while the universality of the images provides an entry point for a wide range of viewers.

The investigation of the personal and the universal is echoed as well in my teaching practice, as I observe the range of results produced by students working within specific material guidelines, facilitating the expression of each student’s personal experience and point of view. In public projects, I have developed a structure for community involvement within an established framework that highlights the input of each individual while facilitating understanding across time and culture. For two such projects, I worked with homeless youth at a Newark shelter alongside teens from a suburban high school. The final murals featured silhouettes of participants, in poses of their choosing, expressing ideas that are at once universal and unique not only to the participants but to future viewers.

My ultimate goal is to merge the individual and community aspects of my practice and to develop a means of bringing my work to a greater public with a higher level of participation.