2021 Grad Show

Alana Sorge

AUArts Grad Show IMG_4485


How can we reveal and mimic the unseen? In a world with limitless potential, it is no wonder that everything around us is eternally in flux. We cannot control what happens in our lives, and the more we resist that fact, the harder it becomes to accept our reality. We live in a constant state of transition, and so do our minds. Having been diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a young adult, I have been presented with many options to treat it, each shrouded in its own layer of complexity and criticism. Navigating medication, therapy, lifestyle changes has proven to be a rich area of artistic exploration. My practice sheds light on the societal taboo of mental health and is rooted in the visualization of my experiences as a woman with ADHD, including its manifestation, my evolving relationship to it, and the misconceptions associated with it. This diagnosis has allowed me to gain a wider and more coherent sense of self, it has helped me better understand myself. A shared conception about this disorder is that all of those afflicted are hyperactive and constantly distracted. However, this definition does not suit me, personally, and I have learned I am not alone in this arena. For myself and many others - especially women - ADHD manifests internally through compulsive overthinking. I am now able to recognize and readjust when I am not present mentally and rather reanalyzing past failures or considering fears about the future. Much of my work takes that specific moment into account: the moment of returning to the present. Focusing on themes of the mind/self, emotion, memory, and transition, my goal is to create introspective work that evokes an emotional response and an alternate perspective.

My process can best be described as controlled experimentation; using household items as tools, I intuitively discover new ways of creating expressive mark making and depth through extensive layering. Materially, I often work in mixed media with a variety of traditional and untraditional materials including: Acrylic paint, oil paint, spray paint, oil pastel, colored pencil, crayons, watercolor, house paint, tape, dyes, newspaper, texture mediums, resin, photographs, ink, chalk pastel, charcoal, glitter, rope, etc. Using pure abstraction, I aim to create visualizations of a state of mind that is both rich in complexity and balance; a sense of contained chaos. Working without the burden of representation has taught me that there is more possibility in expressing the mind, the unseen, through the lens of abstraction. It is essential that my work be large scale as it conveys an all-encompassing experience for the viewer. Often perceived as playful and childlike, my material choices and vibrant colour palettes signify the joyous exterior that I offer to the world, as well as a reflection on childhood: a time period which immensely impacted my sense of self. My ideal presentation space for this work would be in public spaces to promote awareness such as: schools, libraries, offices, airports, etc. I place the subject matter of my work in a contemporary context, but stylistically and conceptually find myself drawing connections to early abstract expressionists and surrealists like Wassily Kandinsky and Joan Miro. I am deeply inspired by these artists because of their pivotal choices to depart from traditional representation and rather to explore the unseen, the unconscious. Using their legacy, I aim to discover innovative ways to inspire curiosity and introspection through abstraction of form and interplay of material.

ADHD: My Friend and Enemy

Undoubtably, each and every one of us is battling something that nobody else knows about. In such a fast-paced world we are expected to fit into a mold and become one of the working pieces in a functioning society. We’re made to think that there is something fundamentally wrong with us if we don’t fit into this universal mold. As such, we rarely take the time to delve into the root of the issue; seeking help and understanding has been labelled a sign of weakness for generations. I’ve chosen to break this cycle.

Chronically Overwhelmed

It is challenging to describe anxiety. It feels almost like guilt, but you can’t put your finger on the exact reason why you’re feeling this way. It’s like you’re waiting for something inevitable to happen; but why try to get in the way of inevitability? In this work I intuitively channelled my anxious energy, allowing it to engulf the canvas. Just as I find myself questioning what anxiety is and where it comes from, this piece intends to question form through deconstruction/abstraction.

Existential Unease

Hurry up! Slow down, it doesn’t matter, nothing matters, were in a simulation anyway. Write it down, don’t forget. It’s weird if you arrive early, but do not be late! Prepare or you will fail, go! Stop spending so much time planning the unplannable. Be attentive, pay attention. You worry too much. Stop being a worry wart, and clean your room, this place is a pigsty. What is your plan?

Rumination Station (All Aboard!)

This piece intends to visualize a transitional realm of being that exists within myself; rumination. I call it a realm because this state of being isn’t something we can see; it is felt and experienced. Internalization gradually builds pressure. Time is skewed in that memories from the past and anxieties about the future seem to bleed into one another, creating new distortions of thoughts.

You Know, THAT Moment

We live in a constant state of transition, and so do our minds. Being diagnosed with ADHD has helped me to reclaim myself in a sense, to understand where I am physically and mentally. A common understanding about this disorder is that all of those afflicted are hyperactive and constantly distracted. For myself this happens to be true, however, it manifests internally through compulsive overthinking. I am now able to recognize when I am not present mentally and rather reanalyzing past failures and considering fears about the future. This work takes that specific moment into account, the moment of returning to the present (which is often met with confusion, uneasiness, and sometimes embarrassment).

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