A person wearing a backpack sprawled facedown on the red floor of a streetcar. Image from Devastation Portraits by Alison Crouse.

Making Mad: How Expressions of Vulnerability Connect Us

Rendezvous With Madness / Workman Arts

Featured Artists: Alison Crouse, Peter Dillman, Esmond Lee, Ben McCarthy & SpekWork, Sarah Trad and Véronique Vallières. Curated by Claudette Abrams.

Through humour and pathos, the artists in Making Mad explore the ways in which depictions of vulnerability in their work resonate on a human scale. Deep-diving into personal touchstones that go beyond the individual, these works relate in poignant and absurd ways to our condition as a collective of fallible, temporal beings.

Vulnerability is rarely associated with courage, yet it is central to survival. Happiness and contentment require little consideration—fitting well within our expectations and ideals—yet pain and uncertainty seem to demand justification in order to understand their purpose and meaning (especially in the absence of any explanation).

The artists in Making Mad unapologetically take cues from their own misgivings to draw attention to our universal susceptibility to harm. They attempt to debunk stigma equated with weakness, shame and isolation, to embrace the compassion, intimacy and intensity of the ways in which vulnerability teaches us to live with an awareness of the likelihood of change.

Image from Devastation Portraits by Alison Crouse.

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