N O V E M B E R     B E E S

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Issue One

          August 2016

Christopher Worth

Artist Statement

Christopher Worth was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1977. “At a very early age I was placed in foster care, and over the span of 11 years I was in two foster homes and infrequently my biological family's home, as well. It was at this time that I was in a "day" institution where very little time was spent on my academic growth. I.e. I was not taught to learn to read or write until the age of 11, when I was adopted.

 

Why the above is still important to my biography as an artist is that art, in some form or fashion, has always been a primary language for me, something that was mine that could not be taken away as I moved through the system. Art has been a grounding primary language for me for as long as I can remember. By 2000, I started to become deeply involved in the environmental movement in West Virginia. Strategically working on initiatives that would affect the whole of Appalachia. This work began seeping into everything else I was working towards as an artist and my understanding of myself as an artist began to transform to the point where I began seeing the art as language which highly influenced my work as an "activist."

 

Somewhere in this process I began to wonder where the community of people with disabilities fit into my understanding of activism and art. Along this rough timeline, I began to move from being an activist to being an organizer and started thinking about how to apply the organizing principle to the community of people with disabilities, to my community. Organizing, art, and activism helped me become my truest self – a powerful person with a disability!

 

I had graduated with my BFA in art/painting. During my BFA studies I experienced extreme prejudice around being a person with a disability who wanted to do art as a career, at the beginning of my academic career, and towards the end I was receiving extreme accolades in my department, and community, because I won awards/approval that I could “do art like any other art student.” My work during this time was very introspective, as with most students moving to undergraduate art school.

 

I worked from highly developed still-lives and commented concepts of philosophy that I thought I understood coming out of Michel Foucault concepts around “clinical systems.” I was looking at artist like: Pierre Bernard, Alice Neel, and Raymond Pettibon. By the time I entered grad school. I was putting a lot of thought into not only how oppression worked for me/on me, but how it affected folks at large—“society”—and then I began to look more closely at how art influenced societal norms, how it was humanities core language, and how Alphabet systems came about not to make dissemination of information easier so much, but to make information easier to control. The way this idea fit into my work was for me to look at art [language of art] as a faculty of the brain, something that applies to all people, and something that society desired, and worked to control.

 

My work at this time began to go back to the basics, I thought about the building blocks of images, and the second half of my grad school experience to spend building what I called “Earth and works on paper.” This work was instructed using the tires of my wheelchair, drawing implement on a dowel rod, and the occasional found image. During this period I was heavily influenced by “outsider art” and native peoples art. I graduated with a Masters, in art, in 2006.

 

My current work focuses on the portrait as a kind of psychological landscape, and it employs all of what I’ve learned and challenges me to push forward.”