I am interested in the relationship between body and mind in the display and creation of identity. I seek to better understand how we create and perform our sense of personhood by analyzing ideologies, gender, sexuality, family identity, regional identity, and feminist politics. Drawing on a background in theater and trained as a printmaker, my work frequently crosses media. My work is driven by concepts, often manifesting as print work, performance or installation. Recent works investigate how the narratives that build identity ultimately direct our decisions, which in turn dictate our relationship to each other and the planet. Politically charged works like National Mandate and Portrait of a Presidency are part protest and part experimental catalysts for conversation between loved-ones who inhabit opposite political poles.
Current events in the United States have pushed me to think more about the process of healing. Recently, I’ve heard discussion of healing in terms of the divisions of our country, as if we were a wounded body. Many around me seek to find ways of mending the divide between individual people in disparate political and socioeconomic factions. I am interested in understanding the internal divisions that allow people to act in ways that are not in their own interest. To do this I’ve begun investigating my own ability to cling to mutually exclusive facts, to ignore paradoxes and suspend disbelief. During a residency period at Artscape Gibraltar Point I will create work that uses my absurdly costumed body in space as a metaphor for cognitive dissonance. I imagine the final iteration of this work as an installed combination of prints and gif-based performance work. I expect this body of work to extend beyond the scope of two weeks – if awarded the residency I would begin creating this body of work in the spring of 2018 and complete the pieces at the residency.
Guen Montgomery is a multidisciplinary artist whose work investigates identity through studies of gender, regional narrative and family mythology. Guen received her BFA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Currently Guen lives in Urbana, IL, where she teaches art foundations and printmaking at The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.