Dana West uses art as both an exploration and a personal catharsis. While her main medium of choice is photography, her art has also delved into other mediums that maintain this duality of expression. Her work is focused on the woman – the interconnectivity of all women as well as the striking subject of a woman alone in the world. Several images exude a clear sense of loneliness, for example a single woman standing and looking out at the ocean, while others like the photograph of an old photograph of a pregnant woman exude a complexity of emotions, loneliness being just one of them.
There is serenity in an image of fall leaves imprinting a sidewalk; there is chaos in an image of corporate logos above a streetlight. There are intensely personal images of the artist herself followed by the image of the blatant commodification of women in a piece of street art asking if this display is “Sexy?” Although it is clear that West picks inspiration from an object she passes just as much as from her own past, she qualifies her work as very auto-biographical; a personal history of the artist, made ever more intriguing by the viewer’s own emotion which inevitably shifts and changes the art they encounter.
Ultimately, West’s work is an act of courage, of a woman finding her voice, the mediums to amplify it, and using them. It is also an act of reaching out – reaching out to other women who are, as she puts it, “stained by life, stained but not destroyed.”
by Eleanor Goldfield
All photos on this site copyright of Dana West Photography