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THE CLASS OF 2021: Bethany MacKenzie




Bethany MacKenzie

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University


When I was five, I would dig for worms in the mud behind my house. My curiosity was rooted in my innocence and naivety, or perhaps the lack of care for keeping myself clean. The creature that was once fascinating to me as a child now repels me for the same reasons; it’s grotesque slimy texture and it's near indestructibility changed my perspective into one that is built upon societal expectations of femininity and anxiety. By simply existing as it is, the worms alluring but repulsive nature is one that keeps me coming back to it time and time again.


I am almost obsessively occupied with how we individually perceive ourselves, others, and how we categorize feelings. My work explores the moments of tension that provide us with comfort and discomfort, the in-betweens, when nothing becomes something, and when something becomes nothing at all. In my practice, I utilize multiples and repetition to examine abject subjects that remind us of the truly horrid; subjects that simultaneously attract and repulse us and break down the boundaries between the self and the other. Through interdisciplinary techniques, such as painting, printmaking and textiles, I draw the viewer's attention to the historical and contemporary contexts in which the worms exist and ask the viewer to approach it softly. I provide an opportunity to walk the line between what may and may not be appealing in order to question the social connotations that have influenced our perceptions of ourselves and those around us.


1. What Will the Worms Think of Me?, 2021, Bethany MacKenzie

2. What Will the Worms Think of Me?, 2021, Bethany MacKenzie

3. What Will the Worms Think of Me?, 2021, Bethany MacKenzie

4. What Will the Worms Think of Me?, Zine, 2021, Bethany MacKenzie

5. What Will the Worms Think of Me?, Zine, 2021, Bethany MacKenzie

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