I contain multitudes, I am a multidisciplinary artist shifting my practice to different media according to the media that best suits my psychological state and the inspiration. I understand that trauma has caused me to use my work to circumnavigate life experiences. It provides me with a way of moving close to complex areas and move away again safely. The work evidences my process and the existence of a range of ways of being. One piece of work cannot stand alone as a representation of me as an artist for as Matt Licata might suggest, I am far too various and mysterious for that.
Studying Richard Swartz who wrote, No Bad Parts and developed a therapeutic philosophy called internal family systems or IFS, I came to recognise all the work as partially or wholly aspects or parts of myself. I move from media to media to keep both the work and myself safe.
‘Les Saltimbanques’ was a pivotal collection of figures that seemed to speak as one piece. It was validating to have it acknowledged and exhibited at Turner Contemporary in 2021. All the outcast parts of self were invited in. I hope those who saw the exhibit enjoyed it.
This awareness thanks to Covid and the opportunity to study trauma in-depth, has given me a renewed understanding of work that I knew was rooted in my unconscious, but I hadn’t quite realised its protective function. I thought my work was a way of speaking my truth, perhaps it does in part, but it is also a way of staying protected from truth, a kind of dissociation from reality.
A common theme in my work is the very brittle nature of the psyche. I recall a psychiatrist making an assessment of me when I had post-natal depression and declaring, ‘Brittle’ as she slammed the file shut. Yes, I am Brittle. It gives me an insight into the vulnerability of others, it makes me a sentient, aware woman able to empathise and respond intuitively through my work and in person. I can shatter and working in series is a way to gather myself.
Through engaging with this work I invite the viewer to value and respect your own brittle selves with compassion and curiosity. One thing I have learned is it serves no one to try to ban and exile parts of ourselves that we do not like. Better to get even closer to them all the better to see them and know them.