What I Can’t See by Samantha Wall

  • Title: What I Can’t See
  • Artist: Samantha Wall
  • Medium: Graphite on paper
  • Size: 60"h x 41"w
  • Creation date: 2014
  • Added to collection: 2016
  • Donor: Purchased by Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus
  • Campus: Rock Creek
  • Location: B5/1 Main hallway gallery

This large scale drawing was part of Samantha Wall’s 2014 series Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark, which delves into the artist’s “obsession with the internal emotional states that separate us as individuals, while simultaneously linking us as a whole."  This work is the result of the slow accretion of multiple layers of graphite applied with tiny circular strokes built up over days (and weeks) of application.

Wall’s drawings and prints often focus on images of multi-racial women, who, like Wall, are underrepresented in the art world. This drawing, a self-portrait, depicts the space between how sees herself and how others see her. Wall has written: "The expression of emotions provides a doorway into private experiences that reveal our commonality…  These communicable emotions reach outward from within, making our bodies transparent. I am interested in the emotions that are more difficult to penetrate and are cloaked even from our own awareness. These are the emotions that sculpt our psyches, erect psychological boundaries, and fill our shadows.”  Samantha Wall's art shows us what we often cannot see.