Heather Benjamin: Cavegirl Monologue
Cavegirl Monologue is artist Heather Benjamin's most substantial collection to date. Much of the art in this collection is new and unreleased, but it also contains a selection from her artist's books and foldout zines, including the recent Romantic Story collection that was wildly popular and is now out of print. "Because of my roots in DIY zine and comics culture, visual narratives are important to me, though I tend to pursue them in less traditional and more non-linear ways," Benjamin explains. "I'm interested in the stories that form within a singular image as well as in how the images relate to each other through shared use of iconography and theme." The subjects of her recent art are a logical continuation of the larger narrative of Benjamin's body of work: She works to excavate the female human experience as she knows it. Benjamin muses on intimacy, sexuality, self-perception, body dysmorphia, and trauma through her avatars. Her work is diaristic, approaching her subjects through the lens of her own personal experience; each piece can easily feel like a self-portrait. Her women are simultaneously self-assured and crumbled, standing defiantly on their own two hairy legs, yet seeking the shoulder of an empathetic viewer to cry on. Benjamin uses her art to sort through her own trauma and self-analysis, and seeks to give faces, bodies, and narratives to the different facets of her own womanhood. Through that excavation, she reaches for more universal ideas and truths about the relationships people have to each other and to themselves, hoping to guide herself through the abjections and frustrations of her womanhood toward a greater sense of self-acceptance and actualization.