Patti Levey: The Awakening
Portfolio Introduction
The Awakening is a series of self-portraits shot in New Mexico over the past ten years. As the body is the container of the soul, buildings are containers of energy and light. The juxtaposition of my human flesh against these crumbling forms and textures to me represents life, death, and rebirth.

Each building is a wilderness of decay created by a collaboration between human beings and nature. Here the inside and outside have merged. I find it all to be extremely beautiful.

I am intrigued and facinated by what is forgotten, abandonned, discarded. I revel in what endures. This idea is best articulated by the Budhist idea of impermanence. Everything changes, ages, sickens, dies and is reborn, recycled. This world view is especially pertinent in a culture that denies and detests death and decay. To hold death at an arms length is to appreciate the fragility of life.

For me, making self-portraits is both a political statement as well as a spiritual practice. I believe that it is as radical for a woman to photograoh herself as it is for her to love herself in any society that values women primarily as objects. I also believe that Art is a bridge between worlds, inner and outer, physical and spiritual. In this sense I hope that my work contains evidence of this fleeting state of grace, this bridge, that connects us to ourselves, each other and all things.

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