Using layered bitumen and oil I created what I thought of as em-bodied paintings creating work about the body and its stories. I felt that these paintings connected my performance and painting practice in many ways including the physical practice of dripping paint onto the canvas. I built up layers of tactile bitumen to create textures – and texts, that explore new ways of thinking about identity and multiplicity. Through the interplay of sculptural, historical and monumental references to bodily form and its fragmentation, it is possible to communicate the fluidity of lived experience.
‘Why do the English have the same word for a swaddled corpse and cuddly maternity?’ AS Byatt
RED-dress Mummies are a series of large paintings made from 2016 that use the strange juxtaposition in language of ‘mummy’ meaning mother and mummification. Anachronistically red dresses are added to bring them to life and honour and value, rather than idolize and denigrate real life mummies (mothers).
In every culture there are taboos about motherhood, constraints that contain and hold motherhood in ideality, and make her less human. Recent discovery of tattoos on the dessicated skin of ancient mummies give us new insights into how they lived in life. We are drawn to something very mortal about them despite the immortality they have attained, that deifies and reifies. The respect they have attained in death probably did not reflect how they were treated in life, so these paintings ask questions about how we treat mothers/mummies in Western societies.
Empathy Circuit is a series of large paintings that used stories contributed from women about their lives. Using dripped bitumen paint and colour, the process creates layers of tactile marks and text that make a range of references of cultural and historically significance for women and aspire to create empathy for many women who undergo mental health issues due to their experiences.