2009 Statement       

 

The Thing

 

2008-2009 has been the year of missing things and missing people. It has become the year of philosophy and psychoanalytical theory. The year of loss.

 

 It began with the ghostly black and white portraits of distant friends and loved ones, my missing people separated by distance and unbridgeable gulfs. Followed by claustrophobic black portraits with heavy influence from the current work of Franko B and Mark Alexander.

 

The physical distance from the individual meant that traditional portrait sitting could never be obtained. With their permission I collected photographed images of these people and began to explore them, yet through peer feedback I learned that the work made people feel uncomfortable. It came as a personal revelation that I had actually been exploring my own aspects of loss.  The ghosted pieces are painted using my fingertips rather than brushes, the canvas becoming a tactile object of caress and absent touch. A strange stroking of the work, a step into the spiritual relationship between black and white, its evocative nature and its power over me.

 

Slowly the year progressed to missing people and those vanished from society. The holes they left behind them and Marline Dumas ink bleeding portraits of those with these small voices in society. Crawling through hundreds of internet photographs and stories of lost people felt like trespassing in a forbidden place and my discomfort quickly lead me away from this field.  I locked the images I had been working on away into hand bound pages which do not invite opening and hid them from sight like the dead.

 

Dead roses and empty trains ran concurrently with the missing people as a distraction from my growing unease, and has been an ongoing collection since. It details nostalgic loss and the shrines we build to the missing. The romanticism of pain, Elaine Scarry’s philosophy of pain’s defiance to sharing, and through it reverting to our pre-language Lacanian states.

 

However the leap to book-making had already been made and began to take hold. From one closed hand-made book to new open ones. The year moved forward with holes and missing things in different haunting voices, in hand made books using ancient obsolete binding techniques. A pile of tactile preciously made books which invite picking up and stroking but are completely empty of any writing or content. One large volume with many weeks of intricate labour and rare imported Mexican tree paper, violated with a huge void though its centre rendering it useless as a book. It is Lacan’s “Das Ding”, The Thing; the huge void within each of us that we can never confront.

 

On 11th May I shall be attending the joint Tate & British Association of Art Therapists symposium on ‘Advancing Arts and Mental Heath Conference’ entitled “What is a Gallery For?”  On 3rd June I shall be attending the Freud Museum’s Bracha Ettinger Symposium.  Hopefully I will have the opportunity at these events to discuss some ideas with leading people in this field. I wish to ask them:

 

 

Can Art Fill The Gap?

 

Can Art Fill My Gap?

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