Nina Chanel Abney and Thomas Hirschhorn

Nina Chanel Abney and Thomas Hirschhorn both create pieces based on human emotion through abstraction, but they have different approaches and evoke different reactions from the audience. They take advantage of emotion to convey their message. Abney’s spontaneity just shows how her pieces truly represent her emotions. Her work is very bright and vibrant, however, the imagery is powerful and sometimes grim. The abstracted figures evoke a jumbled assortment of emotions that represent the confusion and overwhelmingness of the current political climate. Hirschhorn, on the other hand, evokes one emotion from his work: guilt. He collages found images together and pixelates half the image, but he pixelates what usually would not be pixelated, the fashion ad, and leaves the images of mutilated people alone. The contrast forces the viewer to focus on the dark image and reflect on what else they have been hidden from. While Abney shows a political narrative through characters and objects, Hirschhorn creates a narrative between his work and the audience by covering his work in cellophane so that the viewer sees themself in the work. Abney intends on representing how people currently feel, while Hirschhorn intends on invoking an emotion.

There is also a contrast of responsibility of subject matter between the artists. Abney creates work based on her own experience in relation to race and sex. In contrast, Hirschhorn finds the images of mutilated bodies on Google Images. He admits to not knowing which conflicts each image is from. He takes advantage of death as a way to extract guilt from his audience, without intending to bring awareness to any political issue. Abney, on the other hand, uses her own emotions and the emotions of the people around her to create her pieces. It is clear that the pieces that she makes represent her, not only as an artist, but as a person. Hirschhorn not only uses imagery that he has no relationship to, but he makes no effort to learn about them.

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