Meghan Pohlod is a visual artist specializing in print media and print-installation. She completed her BFA in Printmaking from the Metropolitan State University of Denver in the spring of 2015. Soon after, she relocated to Edmonton, Alberta where she is currently a MFA candidate in Printmaking at the University of Alberta. Her visual research examines and highlights trauma triggered by image, place and time. In relation to her graduate research, Meghan recently illustrated a children’s book for the U of A’s Psycholinguistics Department aiding in their research of children’s visual and language development.
Prior to my research at the University of Alberta, my interest in trauma, body and phenomenology was my primary focus. In the first year of my graduate program, these interests allowed me to dig deeper into personal familial relationships that were affected by trauma – specifically abandonment trauma – that I have experienced with my mother and her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
By investigating the cognitive and physical challenges facing my mother, I began to understand how these changes extend beyond the physical body into emotional disconnection. I focus on this disconnection and what is missing or lost through the use of objects and photos that trigger memories. This transition towards loss is documented in moments of my work. I create a blurred effect to mimic degradation of memory by utilizing digital techniques to manipulate photographs of my family. Searching for clues of memory loss and emotional disconnect caused by multiple sclerosis helps me to understand cognitive changes associated with the disease. The different areas affected by the disease show up as white or grey matter on the brain and glow on MRI scans. I document these organic forms to capture the normally not seen intimate areas and lines in the brain.
Multiple sclerosis has many phases within a body and is different from person to person. My research helps me understand how this disease has affected my mother’s life, as well as my life. My body of work from this investigation is my personal journey to understand autoimmune disease, abandonment trauma, the body, the brain, mental health and how that translates into visual language.