When we think about other people we don’t view them as isolated entities. We see them in the context of their background, friends and/or significant others. The process of getting to know someone is sorting through these emotional—and sometimes even physical—bonds. We imagine that we unilaterally determine the context others will view us through. In reality the expectations of those we interact with—whether congruent to reality or not—shape our identity and in turn, impact our relationships with one another. Ultimately, there is a struggle for ownership on the stories we tell about ourselves and each other.
Within her work, Musler is interested in narrative perspective and its ability to change how a story is interpreted. Through her paintings, she depicts tension in characters, who do not have a literal voice, thus removing the importance of the proverbial “I”. It’s this gap in storytelling that allows for the importance of words to shift and instead be placed on the physicality of gesture and shared space. This is where Musler finds that elements of comedy and empathy creep into her work, as cartoon-like bodies fall through space, gawkily extend towards one another, or assert a sort of hold on the “other” through attempted eye contact. Musler thinks that these gestures are often more honest and revealing than a story told, and that there are still layers of misperception to sift through as with any good narrative.