Claire Docking

Catharsis in the Wake of Melancholy

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It’s a strange feeling: your body is still there but feels almost dull, like you’re suspended in a gelatine. Everything keeps existing around you, continuing on with the day-to-day, but time seems unreliable, fast then slow. Sometimes minutes feel like hours, or hours pass by without you noticing. A constant unstable flux that goes by you unnoticed, like lying under the light of dying stars.

The craving to achieve cathartic release from melancholy lies at the core of my art practice. An innate desire to purge myself from the emotions that I feel by transferring them onto paper; to literally draw them out from within. My drawings begin with no plan or premeditation, I simply draw what appears in my mind directly onto the paper. Without hesitation or excessive thought about what the images consist of allows for a pure representation of the object that is being ‘removed’: an honest and brutal manifestation of my emotions and desires. I believe that by looking upon such imagery of destruction and viscera it prevents one’s own inevitable self-destruction; it is a proxy of the self that cannot be harmed nor killed. 

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By not shying away from horrific imagery nor censoring myself, my art practice aims to incite thought and self-reflection about melancholy, bringing it to the surface where it can no longer be ignored. It is not to be disregarded by the self as a simple ‘mood’; it is a parasitic emotion. Such primal desires to tear open and rid oneself of the unwanted made flesh, a vague yet personal representation of a state of mind that cannot be symbolised. Due to the fluidity of mental states, my art practice surrounding melancholy may never conclude. It changes and morphs with the mind, constantly altering itself to better itself as a cathartic outlet. 

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