Gisela McDaniel’s practice lies in social research, oil portraiture, emotional aesthetics, and the use of technology to fuse audio and visual representations of her subjects. As a survivor of sexual violence, she creates safe spaces for women survivors to forge paths towards healing and reclaimation of their own bodies. By creating an immersive experience, she elicits responses to the formation of a scope for healing from sexualized violence. As a survivor herself, she aims to create an environment that allows women to collaboratively share their stories with varying levels of anonymity. These recountings are recorded and then incorporated with oil painted portraits, in which the women choose how they are posed and represented, reaffirming the autonomy of their bodies. These portraits are triggered via motion sensored technology when a viewer is within a certain proximity, causing an interaction that elicits empathy and greater understanding for those who have not experienced what these women have endured. Her work examines the impact of incorporating the voices of survivors directly into paintings, an innovative combination that creates a more complete and empowering moment.

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