Tessa T

Title: Liminality
Size: 3’x4’
Materials: Acrylic on canvas

Artist statement: My final year of this program has been a growing experience in a myriad of ways. Working as an art therapist at a children’s hospital unveiled deep parts of my identity that I had not fully worked through. I often felt overwhelmed; as if I was drowning. I created this painting in three stages. The first stage was expressing my experience of countertransference and vicarious trauma through fingerpainting the background. The second stage required time and space. I finished this piece 10 weeks after beginning it. Those 10 weeks included deep introspection, supervision, reflection, and visible growth in my abilities to work as an art therapist and combat difficult experiences and emotions. The land masses represent land to rest on in-between sessions and the water represents the client’s trauma. The third and final stage came towards the end of my internship when I was truly practicing a balance between following my intuition with intention. I realized I had been swimming alongside my clients, which was why I felt so exhausted all of the time and required so much rest. The final addition was the sailboat. It’s meant to represent myself navigating my client’s trauma in a safe, controllable manner. It does not require me to swim in their trauma with them, nor does it require me to take extended breaks of refuge. The word liminality means “betwixt and between;” a space where someone is in the midst of transformation. This painting represents my transformation over the course of my final year of grad school.