American photographer and book artist Taylor Mathues creates haunting black and white photographs reminiscent of scenes from the Victorian era. Mathues ongoing series ‘It’s Happening Again’ was started in 2016 and is informed by Swiss Psychiatrist, Carl Jung’s shadow self theory. Jung’s shadow self theory is that all people have aspects of their personality that they choose to reject and repress, these aspects are what Jung referred to as the shadow self. The work has a performative aspect to it. Movement, objects, and modifications such as tearing paper are utilized to convey a heavy sense of melancholy and inner chaos.
Mathues' images feel like stills from a film noir or a David Lynch film. There is an unease exuded from the work. Place and objects are used to express Mathues’ experience with mental illness in the form of a non-linear narrative, which allows the viewer to interpret the work and relate as it pertains to themself. ‘It’s Happening Again’ is made up of self-portraiture with the artist appearing in each scene in some form, alternating as the main subject or a subtle portion of herself, not immediately being noticeable. The work is a deeply personal body of work begun as a way for Mathues to process having her first panic attack in four years. “For four years I had believed that I was “cured”, that I would never suffer from anxiety again. But it happened. And a few months later it happened again.” The panic attacks began to happen every few weeks and eventually she experienced them daily.
While suffering from panic attacks on a regular basis Mathues felt helpless. She was in utter disbelief that this was happening again. After 4 years free of panic attacks Mathues believed she was cured. After living with the constant anxiety and experience of suffering a panic attack regularly, Mathues was forced to face her own shadow. ‘It’s Happening Again’ is an investigation of the inner workings of the mind. Mathues explores her own darkness, fear, and desires through the work. The series is informed by memory; Mathues explores the idea of memories people choose to hold on to versus memories people can’t forget even when they try to.