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Franklin Regional graduate uses artwork to work through trauma, emotions

Patrick Varine
| Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, 12:57 p.m.
“Young Female (detail),” 2017, oil on canvas.
“Young Female (detail),” 2017, oil on canvas.
“Stained,” 2017, pen/marker/colored pencil on paper.
“Stained,” 2017, pen/marker/colored pencil on paper.
“Rumination,” 2016, oil on canvas.
“Rumination,” 2016, oil on canvas.
“Intestina,” 2018, oil on canvas.
“Intestina,” 2018, oil on canvas.

Tracin Bauman moved into the Franklin Regional School District during the 2013-14 school year, and was a senior there during its darkest time, the April 2014 knife attack by Alex Hribal.

A lifelong artist, Bauman discovered that following the incident, her creativity began to darken as she began to process the emotional trauma.

“I took an interest in making work that carried more meaning,” said Bauman, 22. “I painted about emotions and the deeper and sometimes darker side of humanity.”

Bauman is currently a student at Penn State University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and her most recent exhibit, “Young Female,” is open through Sept. 1 at the Patterson Gallery on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Bauman said that since she began her studies, she’s felt a responsibility to inject more meaning and purpose into her work.

“My work has developed a commentary on the experience of living. Specifically, corporeality and its duality of inner vitality and inevitable mortality,” Bauman said. “I feel that our bodies always side with nature. Meaning, if anything has the slight possibility of going wrong, it will.”

The fragility of the human body is on full display in Bauman’s work, which engages the human form in a frank and open way.

“With the use of oil paint, I can recreate the palpable fleshiness and translucence that human skin has,” she said. “I create paintings that represent the beauty of the body while counterbalancing a normally decorative or sentimental image with a commentary on the consequences as well as the jubilation of our physical state.”

Creating such artwork has been therapeutic for Bauman, she said. She hopes those who see it will feel similarly.

“I hope to create an intimate dialogue between the piece and the viewer about these subjects, whether that exists as a comfort of relatability, an insight into feminism, a response of wonder to the subject or image, or whatever the reaction,” she said.

“Young Female” is part of Bauman’s final semester at Penn State. She will graduate in December and plans to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts.

“Personally, painting is a form of therapy for me,” she said. “Cognitively and physically, I am working out all my ruminations, stress, and trauma into the artwork itself and out of my own body.”

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Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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