The local news came out to the REHUMANIZE gallery to talk about objectification, art and what it means to be human. If you’re trying to figure out what REHUMANIZE is all about– this video is a great place to start.
“REHUMANIZE short-circuits the thought process of sexual objectification, inviting the viewer to go beyond skin deep to discover what it really means to be human.”
Since its inception in January 2011, this thought provoking art show has been seen at major music festivals, anti-sex trafficking advocacy events, private parties, collegiate functions, and citywide art shows and exhibitions.
REHUMANIZE most recently exhibited at Columbia University in New York City. The intent of this collection is to create a space for meaningful conversation around issues of sexual objectification, identity and self worth.
More than that, REHUMANIZE is a quiet invitation to regain possession of who you really are.
For the first few years I didn’t post the canvases online because they are meant to be experienced in person, with others. However, in effort to invite more people into this conversation, I have decided to share some of them below. (Click on the image to open a lightbox viewer.)
ARTIST STATEMENT “What is REHUMANIZE?” I rarely answer this question upon first request. I’m more interested in having conversations (mutual exploration) than I am pushing or explaining an agenda– another reason REHUMANIZE is best experienced in a gallery setting and not merely ‘explained’ on a website (such a difference between experience and explanation!). Answers and explanations allow us to quickly reduce complex thoughts and ideas into neatly packaged, sound bites that we can wrap our heads around and move on. Questions are helpful for exploring and experiencing. Questions provoke mystery and awe and wonder. Questions say “I don’t know”. REHUMANIZE is not about getting people to agree with me, it’s about getting them to engage. REHUMANIZE challenges some of the ways in which we consume each other. It hints at our desire to connect with each other by challenging our inability to do so. REHUMANIZE is a collection of ‘fine art memes to challenge the soul’. Please contact me to bring REHUMANIZE to your city. – Taylor Gahm
I originally thought REHUMANIZE would be a series of fake magazine ads. I planned on re-creating several well-known fashion ads and product campaigns, but instead of allowing the implicit messaging to remain in the background I was going to bring it to the forefront.
As I started to plan out some of these concepts I realized how much time, effort and resources it was going to take to do these photo shoots. I was also being drawn more towards the serious side of objectification so the idea of paying models to take their clothes off didn’t sit well with me.
I pursued working with existing stock images instead of photographing these subjects myself. At first I assumed I would manipulate existing imagery into complex layer compositions much like the larger-than-life work I had done as an entertainment photographer.
I spent weeks looking through literally tens of thousands of stock images, finding myself drawn into sober contemplation. When I saw the image of a young woman with a ball gag in her mouth, the words ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ instantly came to me, and from then on I steered the project into it’s final direction as a minimalist fine art collection.
REHUMANIZE progressed through various renditions. Originally the typography was placed under the imagery but after contemplating poster format ratios, I ultimately went with placing the typography over the imagery as seen in the final pieces today.
I can’t fully explain what has happening inside of me while creating and then sharing REHUMANIZE, but I think if you spend some contemplative time with the work, you will feel much of the same things for yourself.
To enter a messy world of sexual objectification in effort to re-claim such images, ‘clean them up’, and then place them back into the world with a new story, was a profoundly rich experience. It has given me a fuller, more profound understanding of what it means to regain possession of something.
Which I later learned, is actually a definition of the word ‘redeem’.
REHUMANIZE is a redemptive invitation to regain possession of who we are.