Gabrielle Marin is a self-taught artist based in Montreal, currently studying Painting and Drawing at Concordia University. Her work is highly influenced by body horror and other gruesome subjects, yet in exploring those ideas, she tries to continually create a balance between the repulsive and the elegant. Through her art, Marin invites the viewer to understand how the unpleasant emotions experienced while looking at her creatures can resonate with their own feelings and experiences. The bridges she builds between horror and elegance are drawn from personal experience, but they are also built for the viewer to interpret and make their own.
Bodies is an attempt to portray struggles of mental health as physical manifestations. In each piece, natural elements act as a foreign organism taking over the body of creatures, presenting the feeling of inner turmoil on an abstract level. Elements such as coral or fungi appear to ‘corrupt’ the bodies of the creatures, portraying a physical manifestation of an otherwise invisible conflict. The mutilated appearance of each subject further emphasizes the consequences of trauma or emotional labor which can leave us feeling incomplete and fragmented. Although these creatures may appear surreal, their expressive gestures convey emotions that are relatable to all, often emanating feelings of grief and suffering. The grotesque imagery of severed limbs and exposed flesh contributes to the ambiguity between the repulsive and the compelling; the resulting feeling is similar to experiences of psychological distress, self-destructive tendencies and depression. Despite their distorted looks, however, one can observe an aura of serenity in the atmosphere of each piece. Indeed, there is no violence or signs of resistance in the body language of each subject, as the notion of resignation and understanding plays a crucial role in the process of healing. The small scale of the works requires the viewer to stand close to the piece in order to fully appreciate its details, thus creating an intimate moment between viewer and creature. As mental health is something that can leave one feeling very vulnerable, this feeling of closeness and intimacy aims to create a connection with the viewer, and to incite dialogue around such topics as psychological vulnerability and trauma.