Spectral Symmetries: Self-Portraiture by Brenda Mann Hammack

The mysteries of being grow ever-more obscure in the digitally manipulated self portraits of Brenda Mann Hammack. Her art is surreal, spectral, even disturbing — but it all rings true, revealing aspects of the shared human struggle to seek and understand our own relation to the world. Although the images are distinct facets of the same person, each is self-sufficient, existing for its own sake, as purely expressive as any strange blossom you might pluck from a dark dreamtime garden.

In her own words:

“Long before I discovered the Wall of Faces in Game of Thrones, I fancied the Head-Collection owned by Princess Langwidere in Oz. Luckily, no one need die to contribute to digital face-shifting. Under the influence of many-faced muses (Insomnia, Bibliophilia and Purr), I manipulate self-portraits until characters emerge. Sometimes, the resulting images morph into persona poems, fabulist short stories, or interstitial works. I publish in multiple genres and media, but think of myself as a poet first, albeit one who is as likely to employ a camera as much as I do a keyboard.”

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Brenda Mann Hammack serves as the coordinator for the concentration in creative writing at Fayetteville State University where she also teaches folklore, modern poetry and women’s literature. Her first book, "Humbug: A Neo-Victorian Fantasy," appeared in 2013. She has also published poems, short stories, literary criticism and photography in numerous literary journals, including Rhino, Mudlark, Gargoyle, Anthropoid, A capella Zoo, 805 Lit + Art, and NILVX. She serves as managing editor and digital designer for Glint Literary Journal. View her portfolio on Instagram.

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