Sunday, July 29, 2012
Out Of The Shadows
This is my story of the past three years: I went mad. I went bankrupt. My father died from a particularly aggressive cancer. I went mad again, and not just from grief. I stopped painting. I fell ill. I recovered. I started painting again. Inevitably, I am different. So is my art.For nearly a decade, my slick, glossy, colorful enamels have mimicked advertising and mass-market entertainment. They explored how modern women's personalities and ambitions are shaped by pervasiveness of both. In recent years, my work has also experimented with the idea of self-objectification, and the insidious influence of social media on the way we portray the most intimate aspects of our lives to others. This has since led me to try to understand how personal experiences – like illness, death, grief, and love – become the core of a narrative that we try, every day, to edit or re-write.I have been working on a series of paintings which feature silhouettes of objects that have personal meaning to me. I think of them as shadows from my past. The objects are easily recogniseable – an old motorbike, a horse, a shotgun – and each is captioned by a hand-painted text that is a fragment of memory. Theres is no color and there is very little detail. The studies are matt black gouache on bare, unpainted paper. The finished pieces have a high-gloss, reflective white enamel background surrounding unreflective, matt black. I want the silhouettes to look like a void, as if the objects have been removed. These are not ironic works. They are the opposite. There's a purity in the lack of colour, the clean lines and pared back imagery. There is a measure of sentimentality, too. The words are thoughtful and intimate. When we read a good book, we form the characters in our imaginations from the simplest descriptions or exchanges of dialogue. We build our own version of their world. I want the experience of looking at these paintings to be similar: for the words and image to become highly personalised within the viewer's mind: experiences shared with me, then individualised to the viewer's own perspectives.