All Flesh is Grass is a photographic collage project that deals with mental illness, trauma and coping through spirituality and religion. This project seeks to explore how this can be healthy in some ways and really destructive in others. Spirituality can provide a ton of benefits that might be especially helpful to someone with mental health issues - like mindfulness, focusing on the bigger picture, finding meaning and purpose in life, and learning to forgive yourself and others. On the other hand, especially in Catholicism things like excessive repentance, guilt, and self sacrifice can be harmful. Also, what some people describe as spiritual or religious experiences can be symptomatic of mental illness for others. For example, things like communicating with a higher power, hearing voices, or transcending the body. There’s an interesting and confusing line between what could be a spiritual awakening of sorts and symptoms like delusions, psychosis and dissociation. This project also explores why people with mental health struggles might seek out religion and spirituality. There’s a desire to transcend the mind and body, especially when either is afflicted by illness or trauma. Religion tends to offer a bigger picture view on things, and can ascribe meaning to one’s suffering and help find purpose and meaning in life. There’s also a desire for community, and sometimes a desire to be viewed as pure or holy. This project is inspired by my personal background in the Catholic church, as well as my experience of suffering panic attacks while sick with Covid.
Abbie Soule is a Connecticut-based photographic collage artist who has studied at Quinnipiac University and San Francisco Art Institute before getting her degree in Video and Sound at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She utilizes her own photography and found images in her work, and hand stitches each element together. Her work deals with mental health, womanhood, and spirituality.