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Clara Lieu, Visual Artist


This project is a visualization of my personal experience with depression. The condition brought on frequent episodes where I felt emotionally and physically out of control. Unable to “release” myself from these episodes, I waited for the physical limitations of my body to end them. Recounting the affected years, I realize how accustomed I became to depression's influence; many emotions and feelings belonged to it and not my own personality. After an extended, untreated struggle, a diagnosis brought relief, and the process of unearthing myself from the disease began.

The large scale figure drawings depict the long treatment process that began upon receiving a diagnosis. During treatment, the depression gradually began to fade away. As the emotions slowly left, I started being able to see myself clearly for the first time in my life. Contrary to my prior concerns about treatment, I felt more like myself than I ever had before. These drawings show this simultaneous process of the depression leaving as my true self emerges. Even with ongoing treatment, improvements do not happen in a linear way. The process is unpredictable, continuous, and neverending. At times the emotions subside, on other days the depression is almost gone and occasionally it comes back in full force. Even on my best days, the depression is always there to some degree. For this reason, the anguished figures in these drawings never completely disappear. These emotions will always be with me in some capacity for the rest of my life.

Portrait Drawings

Portrait Drawings, Details




Figure Drawings

Figure Drawings, Details


Exhibition Catalog

Catalog Essay, Andrew Raftery

Catalog Essay, Bridget Lynch

On Her Own Terms, Elizabeth Michelman, Artscope Magazine

Profile, Lois Tarlow, Art New England

Hiding, Mazmanian Gallery

Emerge, Trustman Gallery

Stages, Sarah Doyle Gallery

The New Romantics, Mark Miller Gallery

Control, Brickbottom Gallery

Sinking, Hillel Gallery Project

Plunge, Hollister Gallery

Descent, Herter Gallery