I was painting the other day. I decided to work with the medical diagram that the surgeons use to illustrate their surgical procedures. I cut out a stencil based on this image and used it in my first painting. When I lifted the stencil off I noticed it was covered with paint so made a print of this. When I lifted the stencil off the second art work the left breast shape stayed stuck on the paper. I then did another print which now had a hole where my breast had previously been. This really seemed to reflect my breast surgery process.
Hard, grainy, rough
Immersed in water you remain
resistant to my touch
I rub my hands over you
and you give some of yourself to me
I manipulate you in my hands
feel your softness
make indentations with my fingers
My wet hands squeeze your softness
as we create a soft, gooey mess.
We come together
You provide a thin covering
Each influencing the other
I throw you onto the page
and you form into your own shape
I make prints on paper
the texture of my skin amplified through you.
Judith Wright’s 2011 exhibition A wake, her first major figurative installation, marks a new development in her long meditation on the loss of her daughter, who died shortly after birth many years ago. Wright says ‘the power of the shadow to conjure absence’ directed her to make A wake. The ancient Greeks associated shadows with the soul, and this is true of Wright’s musicians: their shadows are the soul of their music.
Wright’s reference to shadows as a means of conjuring absence resonates with me as I have been drawn to taking photos of shadows; maybe this is also related to my work about leaving traces of my life behind – traces can also become shadows.
I just came across the Australian artist Judith Wright. I am drawn to her interest in using the body to convey life’s journey. She often deals with the impermanence and the vulnerability of life. She came to her art practice from a background in classical dance, having performed with the Australian Ballet for four years so as she says it is only to be expected that she conveys a performer’s sensitivity to the body. There is something in her images, some of which are shown below, that deeply resonate with me. She seems to capture for me the idea of the body as landscape of experience. These images were downloaed from http://www.sophiegannongallery.com.au/artists/view/49/judith-wright/work on 18th June 2012
I began to play with the idea of tracing; I decided to make some smoke drawings. I used different papers and candles to get a range of effects. I tried a number of different types of paper and candles before I got the smoke to really leave a mark. I loved the totally emergent nature of the pictures. The smoke made beautiful images in the air before swirling around the paper. Although I moved the paper in an attempt to control the aesthetic of what I was creating I really had very limited control over where the smoke went. I found this really freeing. Just allowing the smoke to make its mark.