A series of self portraits by San Francisco-based artist Jamie L. Luoto. “I Believe in Ghosts” is a deeply personal exploration of the aftermath of sexual assault and repeated sexual trauma. The work is an attempt to articulate the depth to which these acts of violence — as well as the accompanying dismissal, disbelief, and shaming — impact individuals. Manipulating a classic European style, Luoto reframes the spectacle of visual pleasure to beguile and entrap the viewer in a manner akin to the inescapability of living in a body haunted by what was done to it:

“I believe in ghosts. I believe those who weren’t and won’t be believed. I see the ghosts that haunt us…. In these works I explore my psyche and experience with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), blurring the line between external presentation and internal reality to bring to light the unseen injuries of sexual trauma that invade and haunt mind and body. Symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, dissociation, and intrusive thoughts and images are suggested using mirrors, portraits within portraits, and phallic forms, such as condoms and erect sheets, which materialize as ghosts throughout the work. At times the ghosts’ presence takes on a swarm-like quality, suggesting a looming threat. Felines act as familiars; bearing witness and embodying the subject’s emotional state.”

Jamie Luoto is one of 60 artists and photographers featured in our latest book, Care. She will also be exhibiting work with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery this year, including 2 of the pieces that appear in our book. See more from “I Believe in Ghosts” below.


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