Four years on
"There are plenty of artists who don't have exhibitions, there is plenty of art that is never seen... Making art that does not have a destination has it's loneliness and it's sadness about it, and many artist endure that for their entire lives, and it's heroic" Phyllida Barlow
t has been four years since I published a blog post. I have seen, read, thought, done so much it feels almost impossible to retrieve and consolidate so maybe this entry needs to be swiftly despatched. I have had several blog essays on the go but they all got stuck. Themes were the heroine's journey; representation of woman in Christian art; forest; clutter; menopause... I have done a lot of making. Things have either got stuck or are finished incompletely.
The world feels very different four years on. 2019 was they year of a giving up my studio, putting larger artworks into storage and consequently swamping my home space with stuff. Life was interrupted by a 3 month jury service. Then 2020 brought Covid. Awareness of environmental catastrophe presses hard and makes it difficult to justify using resources. Risk taking with matter is a big part of my creativity and with that process comes waste and disposal. Cultural and gender norms have been challenged and some presumptions that have contributed to the core of my inner life feel dangerous to articulate. If our consciousness and identities are made by the things we consume and experience how do we "decathect" influences latterly deemed offensive or outdated without feeling we have amputated parts of ourselves? It doesn't feel safe even to try an unpick ideas that might not fit in with the dominant moral high ground. Social judgement seems suddenly very flattened and unforgiving - as though we are no longer allowed to contain contradictory multitudes or acknowledge the shadows we cast. And as someone hugely influenced by Jung I am wedded to my internal archetypal hordes and to the treasures to be found in confronting shadow.
Someone recently sent me the Phylidda Barlow quote above. In spite of lacerating doubt I haven't stopped. Here's a taster of some work from these wilderness years: to be explored in subsequent posts.