Going Home

Ashley Markle

2020 - Ongoing

Ohio, United States

I view sex, touch, and intimacy as forms of communication with our loved ones and ourselves. Everyone speaks differently from everyone else and our words are interpreted differently by everyone we speak to. Often, these misunderstandings lead to power struggles in the relationship which I like to showcase as an inherent feeling of conflict of role between subjects. When we are missing the ability to communicate clearly, our animalistic selves awaken and we fight to be the dominating power. Our individual communication styles are determined by our past, memories, and traumas. My work aims to highlight these differences in communication style through images that show a need for connection, as well as look to the past for the reasons we communicate the way we do. I seek to define my identity and communication style by observing the way I interact in my relationships and looking back to my past in search of why I act this way. The images are staged, careful, and intentional depictions of what I want myself to see from the relationships of the subjects. The element of performance and gaze is felt strongly.

This series, “Going Home,” is an exploration of my current family dynamic. I started this work in March when I fled from Brooklyn to Ohio due to the pandemic. I stayed for 2 months and later returned for another month. As a child, all I ever wanted was to escape Ohio. Being forced to come back and reevaluate who I am, how I fit in to this family of my mother and stepfather now as a young woman, how my relationship with my mother has changed with so much time spent apart, and how each of our backgrounds informs the way we relate to each other. My mother has been the only consistency in my life. I have had 3 different “dads” and the idea of family has always been foggy to me. In this work, while I am exploring my own personal, specific issues with this family, I am flipping the idea of family upside down. Family cannot be defined by one definition as all of our families are different based on circumstances, differences, and everyone’s upbringing. What is a traditional family? Why are all family portraits so posed and normal when our families are far from normal? While I explore what family means to me and how I fit in with my current family members, I hope my audiences reflect on their own family dynamics as well.

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