At its core my work is a personal psychological exploration. My drawings are formed to reflect the dynamism and intensity experienced encountering characters and personalities in everyday life. They portray a changing or mutable space in which nothing ever forms except for moments of clarity, equivalent to focal points in cinema or photography. These focal points are evoked through extreme light or dark and attention to detail. Where the background may fade, a face or area of the body is rendered in detail or strength of touch. The imagery evokes the psychological intensity of the cinematic image.
The drawings also attempt to elicit questions in terms of the audience’s reaction in regards to ‘the gaze’. The drawings, usually depicting one or two protagonists, both women and often including myself, are formed to invite or challenge the viewer in terms of their ‘gaze’. This challenge also makes the viewer implicit within the work so that they are forced to consider their role as the viewer.
This project is also my expression/declaration of the hyper reality; the everyday as an intense experience. Not only does this mean a heightened emotional state all to common in youth in the turmoil of growing up and suffering from mood disorders of anxiety and depression, but it also refers to society’s depersonalisation and derealisation. I call this “day terrors” or “doom sessions”, mind altering episodes within the everyday. One of the first people to label these terrors with the title ‘depersonalization’ was the artist and writer Henri-Frédéric Amiel in his journal The Journal Intime. “I find myself regarding existence as though from beyond the tomb, from another world; all is strange to me; I am, as it were, outside my own body and individuality; I am depersonalized, detached, cut adrift. Is this madness? “ (cited in D Simeon, J Abugel, Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self, Oxford University Press, 2006). We recognise in the everyday ‘life moments’ that inform our psychological assessment of things. And the energy and ardour I experience and employ using charcoal helps me to convey this sense of intense physicality in these moments.
My process involves the intense experience of using my entire body. My use of materials across the surface of my work implies a physical or visceral act, equivalent to body. The figures I depict are not anatomically correct depictions of the body, but more an exploration and experience of ‘body’, along with the experience of drawing as a perpetual hunt for honesty, integrity and emotional realism.