BFA Studio 2009/10
I examine the ways moving and living in the world creates a physical history or narrative upon the body, and how through various modes of fashion we design the physical barriers created between our bodies and the spaces we live in. Upon reflection, I realize that my interest sprang primarily from my dad being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As with any other cancer, it results principally from carcinogens in the environment. This changed the way I looked at the body/environment relationship, suddenly I was keenly aware of a more personal interaction; how our environment can wear us down and mark us up.
I explore this through imagery of scars in various mediums. I create paintings that reference the body by building up layers of paint and then wearing away the surface to leave scars or wounds on the ‘skin’ of the canvas. The application and wearing of paint is very time consuming, and creates a history or narrative that can be read in the surface of the paint. I also create depictions of scars in fabric, referencing the barriers we wear between our bodies and the environment. Clothing takes the wear and tear of living and then is eventually discarded, but we invest so much of our identities in the aesthetic of these garments, they are pseudo bodies.
I also work through a process of piercing paper with pins, where a mark is accumulated on the surface of a material, usually paper. The mark alters the surface through transformation rather through additive means, and this material becomes the body. The process is intensive and gradual, during which I reflect on the body’s surface; it’s acquisition of marks as evidence of narrative and mortality. I allow the mark to be overpowering due to its repetitiveness; it is evidently a labour intensive process. The effort and attention required to create the work gives it a sense of importance that I hope the viewer can engage with, after which it may be apparent that the material can stand in for the body as it is rendered more fragile through the mark making process.
Empathy, Narrative, Body, Process. These are the key characteristics that drive my work.