CN2 Today – New art exhibit helping survivors cope with abuse

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 TODAY) – South Carolina artist, Yvette L. Cummings unveiling “The Uncanny” art display from now until October 7th inside the Dalton Gallery at the Center of the Arts in Rock Hill.

Cummings art, full of color and beauty has a deeper meaning.

More is below on Cummings and the artwork on display.


The Uncanny concentrates on the interplay between daughters, sisters, the pulls of pre-puberty, and the push of motherhood. Artist Yvette L. Cummings depicts young girls during these times in relation to one another, and with herself. The narratives present overt physical strain and gesture to relay the message of conflict. The compositions are purposeful in the postures of the girls. They are representing their age, but we feel voyeuristic in our participation. Cummings presents the figure with a patterned motif to flatten the space and make the viewer confront the action of the figures. The spatial flattening relates to memory and the shallow depth of field that occurs in recollection.


The body of a girl is sexualized, objectified and consumed before she is even aware of what sex is. Beginning in childhood, her physical appearance is being regulated, controlled and told what is acceptable. Beauty is seen as trouble, but girls are expected to be beautiful. I am interested in the way female bodies are not autonomous; whether the victim of sexual assault or the governments constant regulation, ownership of my body is not my own. I want to exert power back to the body, regardless of gesture or appearance. 

I explore the complicated path of youth, beauty and femininity as expressed through the viewpoint of a sexual abuse survivor.  As I have watched my children in their youth, I reflect on the trouble that was forced on me as a child.  The narratives present the delayed, uncontrolled and repetitive nature of a survivors’ response to trauma. The figures challenge our voyeuristic participation with the unease of their gestures and direct gaze. The compositions are purposeful in the postures of the girls; they are representing their age, but as viewers, we bring our adult experiences to innocent play and scrutinize adolescence and beauty. 

The layered patterns represent the repetitive nature of memory, but also provide a camouflaging that mimics the way we reveal our true selves. The figures are pushed to the foreground providing no visual space for the viewer to escape to and therefore forcing participation in the internal and physical display of the work. The damask and floral patterns flatten the spatial aspects of the work. These very traditional, elegant patterns create a visual abstraction that welcomes the viewer into the guttural narratives. 


Cummings completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati’s School of DAAP in 2003. Cummings is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Arts in Painting/Drawing at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. Her work can be found in both public and private collections and has been exhibited in multiple group and solo exhibitions throughout the south, mid-west and internationally. Cummings has been featured in the 701 Center for Contemporary Art South Carolina Biennial 2015 and 2019 in Columbia, SC, winner of the 2016 701 CCA Prize for artist under 40 in South Carolina, as well as Contemporary South at Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC. She was one of 65 artists chosen for The Mint Museum’s Coined in the South Exhibition 2019. Most recently she was awarded First Place in the Disrupted Realism exhibition at Buckham Gallery in Flint, MI juried by John Seed; Cummings was also awarded a special recognition in the Women’s Art Prize International Competition and Exhibition. 

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