Fall 2014 BFA Exhibition
You Are Us (Detail)
Dan Joel Beaudreau, Boise State UniversityFollow
woodblock print on paper
The genre of horror in the artistic world has always been one that fascinated me. Why do we like it? Why does it get made? What is its purpose? I have always wondered these questions being a fan of horror. But after spending so much time with the subject, I think the real question is "why do we need it?" Every year people spend millions of dollars making horror movies and writing scary stories, and spend even more money buying it up as fast as it can get made. It would seem the need to be scared is ingrained into humans that is becomes the basis for some peoples' lives. All of us have a connection to horror, whether it be the killers or monsters or the victims and survivors. Whether you love it or hate it, you can't ignore it. No one is bored during a horror film. Usually it keeps you on the edge of your seat. We connect with the killers and empathize with the victims. We can't seem to help it but horror is the one genre that everyone is able to suspend their disbelief and let it completely take hold of them. Unlike the realistic romantic or action films, you never hear people say in the middle of a zombie movie "yea right? That would never happen." Because they are too busy planning what they would do in that situation.
There was a time when the "fight or flight" response played a role in every human's life. As we have moved along in our timeline into the safety of civilization we have become complacent and limited the use of this primal instinct. The oldest and strongest emotion in mankind is fear. The fear of the things that threatened the survival of our ancestors are still very much a part of us. We have an unconscious need to experience terror, it keeps us alive. This is where horrific artwork comes into play. It is practice. Practice at experiencing the feelings of fear and terror. We need to be shocked so that we can prepare ourselves for anything we may encounter in reality. When we look at, read or watch horror we are internalizing the preparations like "don't go in there" "TURN AROUND!" and "run''.
This work is an experience of these emotions and a tribute to our need to have these feelings. First about the fear of the killers and the initial terror as it feeds into our brains. The second is about how we accept them and finally resist them whole heartedly and use whatever survival instincts to overcome our fears and move from victim to survivor and heroes. The instincts are ingrain in us the same as paternal instincts or our reflexes are a part of us. The killers and victims are both us, we create them in our imagination and we connect with them on a deep level so that we can eventually overcome them and in the process be entertained.
© Dan Joel Beaudreau, 2014.
Since January 15, 2015
woodcut, printmaking, high contrast, figurative works, horror, illustrative
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