Helen Olcott is a Visual Arts and Art History student graduating in 2017. She has previously worked in the printmaking studio and currently works in the photography lab under a work/study program at York University. Her work strives to engage with her identity as a dis/abled artist and printmaker. Printmaking is an essential aspect of her core being, the processes, and methods used before, during, and after shooting are influenced heavily by this print media based practice. She is not inventing or creating new content through Photoshop and she prefers to shoot in black and white as coloured images produce strong memory associations. Helen seeks to work through her disidentification with her younger self, brought on by discouraging and discriminatory experiences as a dis/abled student growing up in Newmarket, Ontario, and self-deprecating notions of the ‘ideal’ female body by indulging in rather intimate body-centred self portraiture. The face as a signifier for identity is something to be challenged by intersectional modes of identifying oneself after trauma. What is/does recovery and acceptance look like for privileged female-identifying dis/abled artists and students? Who can afford recovery and who is rewarded for it? Her passion for printmaking and photography helps to reinforce inner notions of self-worth, knowledge, and the reclaiming of power over the body, mind, and spirit.
Helen Olcott, Same, Same, But Different, 2016, 22” x 34”, Black and White Digital Print