To Locate the Self
“I have a face, but a face is not what I am. Behind it lies a mind, which you do not see but which looks out on you. This face, which you see but I do not, is a medium I own to express something of what I am. Or so it seems until I turn to the mirror. Then, My face may seem to own me; to confront me as a condition to which I am bound. ”
I make paintings which play with fluidities, shifts and exchanges between adjacent areas such as the perceptual dichotomy of figure-ground, and movements between interiority and exteriority. These works attempt to evoke an active slippage between here and there, spaces and states.
Drawing is a place in which to begin; its generative role a reflection of collected assimilations of sensory information. Colour connotes my own sense of body and its slippage between immersive spaces and their edges, emerging and recoiling. Forms ebb, flow, congeal and disperse between accessing moments of felt recognition, utilised external structures of self (i.e. a monetisation of the social via the selfie) and an obligatory interiority. Proprioception, light and temperature inform. The heat of movement: muscles stretching, the weight of bone, the inescapable physicality of the movement of fluid through a living organism, as I stand in front of a canvas.
My exploration of painting’s self-reflexivity and its ability to echo our self-awareness, is a consideration of the way Western societies utilise structures of thought in shaping our ‘selves.’ I am exploring the concept that our selves are contingent, shaped by chance events and encounters, and as such our attitudes and thoughts are to some degree governed by a rationale that is handed down to us through our culture. This idea that we are contingent rather than innate beings affords us autonomy in shaping new forms of subjectivity through processes of ‘active contemplation’, like that of painting.1
1. Maria Lassnig, The Pen is the Sister of the Brush: Diaries 1943-1997, edited by Obrist, Hans Ulrich, Zürich: Hauser & Wirth, 2009, 10.