The emotions play a huge part in everyday life. They are a dominant force as they are attached and remain in everything we think and do. Emotions are responsive and pure, they react quicker than the conscious mind and are subconscious. I focus on real life traumatic emotions to create a picture of individuals and their society. Fear and anxiety are ways of self-protecting, however when extreme can behave like a prison.
We are fenced in by cultural histories, within a ‘box’, that dictates to us what is right and wrong. We as consumers, are susceptive and guided by an authoritative external world. We are part of a historical chronology, as the past is present within us. Social control through conventions and norms undermine people’s perceptions and a kind of fiction structures our experience and view of our world, so we live in a psychosocial bubble.
I use my introspective work to comment on what is going on extrospectively. I analyse my own situations to seek resolutions as well as to try and understand the world around me. What is the individual’s value measured against the values of a community? How do we define and think in order to belong within a community in order to become autonomous and accepted? And can we be attracted to status symbols and aesthetics to achieve this acceptance and recognition?
My work explores the public and private realms and how they conjoin and diverge. I also look at how emotions, empathy and humanity can bond us together, whereas constructs and rules can mentally segregate. The emotions reveal not just things about the individual but also about the world around them.
It is only through relating, communication and understanding that we can achieve any harmony as a group......
.....These Paper Cages...
“No man is an island...”
The paper cages I create are psychological spaces that represent the microcosm of the mind. There is a conflict lurking within my immersive, light and shadow, paper cutting installations; one of beauty and comfort, alongside anxiety and isolation. These cages are conflicted zones that depict social alienation as they are protective, safe comfort-zones, that are also limiting, lonely and essentially about hiding. I highlight boundaries between inside and outside, private and public, mental and physical.
I have always made art out of a personal need, so it has a raw and confessional foundation. I look specifically at the vivid nature of conformity and trauma within the memory and how it impedes the individual’s mental and physical well-being. By externalizing emotions, angst and hidden fears within my work, I expose something that is invisible into being something extremely tangible and debilitating.
I am drawn to the fragility of paper, and the act of cutting it by hand allows me to have a close relationship with my work. Like the sewing of quilts at home or writing a diary in the bedroom; my work reflects a story telling within a private domestic setting. I weave words into symbolic and surreal narratives and use a fairytale-like style to depict an atmospheric realm. There is an element of a stunted growth, an arrested development, in order to stay in a comfortable place...
My art is intuitive and an expression of the Individual. It stems primarily from the emotions and experiences of real people, revealing mental and emotional struggles with autonomy. These internal 'portraits' are highly idiosyncratic, releasing, and diaristic in content, and this Expressionistic element to the work inevitably brings with it a catharsis. Moreover, by revealing personal emotions of the individual I actually reveal something about the specific world around them.
On the one hand, I expose an authority present within colloquial language and everyday status symbols. I portray society as a dominant, man-made decision and construct as I am curious about ideologies, patterns and collective ideas, which are absorbed by the individual from their surrounding community and culture. By juxtaposing the human need to fit in alongside social issues of idealism, aesthetics, right and wrong, mythologies, cultural histories and beauty, I link the mental with the social; looking at the individual's pursuit of value.
On the other hand, I am interested in the unconscious in relation to ‘post-traumatic stress disorder', chronic psychological damage, emotional disruption and recollection. By relating psychoanalysis with the idea of community, I expose the complex psychosocial situation of the individual. How one sees oneself is based on the community's perceptions and ideas, therefore one's view is not only one's own.
Although my art is extremely subjective it is also relational and compassionate. What intrigues me is the audience’s role within my experiential installations. My works are made to be seen and are performative for the viewer and myself. They contain boundaries and zones in which the viewer takes part in once they have entered the room.
My collection ‘Beautiful Cages’ is about having an emotional response and exudes the striving of connection, empathy and communication, as well as the difficulty of doing so. I use art to sort through life emotionally and mentally. To find a way through a mental maze. I want to consider my relationship with the outside world, to learn and work out how to be with others. I also want to reveal the detrimental effects of isolation as a human condition.
I believe in the healing and exposing notion of art and how an awareness of our social and psychological world is essential to improve mental and physical health.