Artist: Chris Cournoyer
Exhibition: Inner Demons
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Chris Cournoyer is an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida/ Dayton Beach. His artwork was on display at the Merlino gallery through the Florida/ California Exchange exhibition. Unfortunately, Cournoyer didn’t come with his artwork to Southern California so I was unable to have a formal interview with him. However, even though Cournoyer is across the country, the exhibition coordinator Nicole and Cournoyer’s statement allowed me to get a sense of what Cournoyer was trying to express with his exhibition “Inner Demons.”
When I walked into the Merlino Gallery, “Inner Demons” was not the first to catch my eye. A dark image of an unattractive man with two faces isn’t necessarily the first piece one would look at. However, when giving the image a closer look you see one face that has pitch black eyes and another face that doesn’t. The man featured in the image also isn’t perfect and rather looks like a normal human being with normal human qualities. For example, he has a bad arm tan that perhaps is relatable to many of individuals. Nicole her self described the piece as one of the “best” which has it’s own meaning.
According to the artist statement, “Inner Demons” is about the human struggle against psychological disorders. Often times, these psychological disorders have “negative undertones” that influence individuals to act on impulses. These Inner demons as Cournoyer describes are sides that individuals wish not to show or reveal of themselves. The dark nature of the image illuminates the demonic battle that individuals have with themselves.
Looking at the piece my initial thoughts were the idea that individuals are two faced. By that I mean that the face that is shown to the outside world isn’t the same face on the inside. It also brought up the idea of battles people fight within themselves because only they know and understand what is going on with them. Without having read Cournoyer’s statement I felt connected to the image. It reminded me of the person I’m scared to show because I will look weak to others. The person I fight everyday not to come out because she’s fearful of the world. The person that cries at night because she afraid of not being accomplished.