Video Still: Vanessa Godden, Untitled (Blend) 2016, Video
Vanessa Godden is a mixed media artist based in Melbourne, Australia. She received her BFA from the University of Houston (USA), MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (USA), and is currently a PhD candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts (Australia). Godden’s practice-based PhD research project entitled Embodying Entanglement uses organic and inorganic materials to explore and convey entanglement as it relates to two key experiential foci – the aftermath of rape and multi-ethnicity. Through performative action, materials such as thread, yarn, paper, eggshells, curry powder, flour, paint, chili powder, and hair activate the body while the body animates each material. The project seeks to develop processual methods for materialising internal entangled experiences of rape and race. Material engagements with the body reflect autobiographical narratives that depict entanglement and evaluate experience through process.
Godden’s studio practice draws from and combines a variety of mediums including performance, video installation, and book art. The use of combined media offers a blending of time and space in an effort to record cyclical rituals and alters to the past, an unveiling of hidden layers of the mind. Her artistic narrative is built on an image of herself constructed from memories—records with no visual markers. Persistent and recurring imagery and themes include orality, inversion, the body, trauma, and lineage; each are enmeshed with a deep personal need to find a voice for something inside that desperately wanted to speak but was somehow unable to. Godden strongly aligns her practice with post-colonial feminism and personally identifies as a queer woman of color feminist.