Works on Paper by Samantha Scherer

These Are Their Stories: 2007-Present

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These Are Their Stories is about compulsion and the impulse to collect. It also examines the fascination with pain and death, on both a personal and cultural level, and the media’s role in feeding this fascination. For years, I have been a reluctant fan of the television show “Law and Order.” Attracted by its focus on morbid crimes, I am almost powerless to ignore the endless reruns on cable and often find myself watching episodes that I may have already seen more than once. This has amounted to hours and hours of seeing vaguely recognizable character actors assaulted and murdered on a regular basis. In an effort to both acknowledge and control this behavior, I decided to create a visual catalog of these fictional victims in the hopes that deliberate viewing and deconstruction of the show would weaken its power over me. I am systematically combing through multiple seasons, collecting video stills of various victims post-crime, rendering them in black watercolor on small squares of lightly tinted paper and then cataloging them using a simple code of season and episode number. The result is a work in progress which will continue to bloom as long as there are episodes and victims to fuel my compulsion.