Through exploration of materials, one hopes to uncover the intrinsic soul and energy within each. I have come to favour Installation, as it allows one to amalgamate a series of concepts, ideas and objects as a physical manifestation of my consciousness. Ceramics are also a developing medium, as their very nature causes them to hold a certain density, a weight, as well as a certain spiritual etherealness. I am concerned with ‘The Fear’, a term I utilise to describe the immense apprehension of the end of existence. Through my own fear of the end, as well as how humanity attempts to process and understand this, I find my work developing into an organ of purification. Through my work, I attempt to draw out my fear and place it within the artwork, as a form of catharsis for myself, and for those who feel the same.
Relating to this, I have a burgeoning fascination with religion and the concept of tragedy; concerning ideas of transcendence, and the human desire to evolve beyond our current existence. I take inspiration from Western religious practice, as well as more primal and instinctive practices, such as Paganism, Voodoo and Ancient religious practice. These diverse inspirations push me to explore the development of consciousness, and the human desire to believe in something more.
1) The Shroud
The first piece that I made this year that actually had a very strong and profound effect on me. As I crafted this piece, and finished making it, I actually felt a little fearful at what I had created. This piece spurned me to create a series of works based around the ideas of ‘assecories to worship’, a concept began when I first started my alchemy circles, and realised recently as a means of catharsis for those fearful of death.
Substance was the next big leap in terms of concept and execution. I’ve never worked on such a large scale before, especially in preparation for an exhibition; three pieces, each intrinsically linked with the other. Unfortunately, the third piece in the exhibition ‘Icarus’ has gone on undocumented, as the weather was so windy on the night of substance that no-one could get a picture of it before it began to twist and break apart. However, those few who were there on the night were able to see it; a lost artwork. My work at this time was so important to me, and took so much out of me, that all creativity I had was spent on it; resulting in a creative drought that lasted much of the christmas holidays. However, the work was a success, and so was the exhibition. It was fantastic.
3) Death in the family
Over christmas, I lost another family member to cancer. At the time, my breathing was worsening, and I began to become fearful for my own health and life, in case I would succumb to the same disease that has claimed so many people in my family. My fear and grief began to turn into a mild obsession, and I began to focus on cancer, and more specifically, tumours, as a sort of catharsis. As I researched the disease, fear began to turn into fascination. A means to an end; it became my meditation.
4) The Void
Leading on from the massive inspiration Art & The Conscious mind gave me, as well as the sudden and apparent understanding of how much we cannot know or perceive, and it’s side effects, I began to focus on nothingness; or, the void. The idea of the void stemmed from my burgeoning interest in black holes, as well as their similarity in concept to tumours; balls of untold energy that leaks out and spreads, destroying everything around it, I began to find an interest and similarity, symbolically, between the two ideas. For a long time I attempted to understand nothing, to make it corporeal, as a means of myself attempting to understand it. But, alas, I did not feel like I was getting anywhere. However, after a quick and impromptu tutorial with Susan Adams, she advised me that ‘as an artist, you create works as a means of understanding that which you do not yet understand. Quite simply; you are making something, out of nothing, in your artwork.’ This was so poignant, and pushed me to consider the idea of the artist as medium between forces and humans.
5) The Scapegoat (Porcelain)
Then, my work became delicate again. As I began to explore the potential of porcelain as a means of orchestrating my idea, I begun to etch my tumours onto them. The porcelain, therefore, became the scapegoat for my grief and worries over my potential fate as a sufferer of the disease. My lungs at this time were at their worst in years, and I was attempting to pull my negative emotions and illness and inject them into he porcelain plates; they were flesh that I had sculpted by hand, and I was inflicting my will upon them. Much like in shamanism and voodoo practices; I was attempting to draw out the bad spirits within me, and exorcise them into the porcelain. This became my catharsis, and prompted me to make works that could act as a means of purification for myself, and those who were to view it.