• Hal Webster, I Don't Want to Say It, Colored pencil and oil pastel on paper, 7" x 5", 2020
  • Hal Webster, Business Complex, Colored pencil and oil pastel on paper, 7" x 5", 2020
  • Hal Webster, Chest Binding, Colored pencil and oil pastel on paper, 5" x 7", 2020
  • Hal Webster, I'm Not All There, Colored pencil and oil pastel on paper, 8" x 6", 2020
  • Hal Webster, The Cage in Your Chest, Colored pencil and oil pastel on paper, 14" x 10", 2020

My exhibit “Schema Stigmata” examines the concepts of self-perception, personal crisis, and the implications of the societal norm. Through a series of abstracted and literal self portraits, I investigate so-called mental “disorders” to explore what it means to live outside of the prescribed experience.

The title of this show makes reference to two separate concepts: the psychological “self-schema,” and the biblical “stigmata.” Self-schema is defined as a personal belief about oneself that is built upon particular memories. Compared to stigmata, which is the appearance of the bodily wounds of Christ on his followers, together the words imply that the ideas about ourselves we have adopted by the wayside of society inflict permanent marks in the self-concept, and vice versa. As such, the relationship between positive and negative space in these works is used to mirror the schema and stigmata, or the self and society as they push and pull against one another.

In this series, I apply layers and layers of color and scrape them all off, one by one, until there is a sufficient build-up of material that can be used to create imagery. At this point, though I might have something general already in mind, the specifics of the image are revealed through chance aesthetics, and the act of scraping and carving layers of built-up oil pastels serves as a catalyst for creating the images. Through this process, unexpected colors and imagery are revealed as the incised marks serve as a metaphor for inflicting harm, like scars that pay homage to the particular conditions and traumas they are meant to depict- a haunting landscape of intrigue and mystery.