Work off to its new home
I'm delighted with the end result of the work I used to illustrate the 'Duende' post recently. A supporter of my work and the arts hub I co-run in my home town saw it during our recent open studios and decided to buy it. I hadn't actually intended it to be for sale, I had hung the painting, and the 3 photos which inspired it, together - more as an illustration of a kind of development, then as a display of finished work. However a few people commented on it, and then our customer came in unexpectedly and wanted it. I thought about it and decided to put it together in a more finished way, so I had the painting printed, and mounted with the 3 photographs to create a finished 'piece'.
The great thing is that the customer is not someone who shirks from the darker aspects of my work. She and I have had conversations about such things, and she is open to them. The work I called 'Floating'. It's subject matter is dissociation. In it I am trying to convey the feeling of dissociation during and after trauma, when you feel that your head and body and separated to protect them both. I remember telling my husband that the sensation was rather like what happens on an Apple computer when you 'duplicate' something, it kind of pops out a copy which then sits in front or to the side of the original. On looking at this work of the photos and the painting, I realise that it illustrates this sensation of duplication or of being being 'beside yourself'. The top of the head is missing also, of course (the 'floating') which suggests the sense of being missing from your old sense of self that comes with dislocation during the survival of the trauma itself, but also with the sense of unreality that came with the morphine and morphine-like drugs later on. The black jumper also suggests to me the dark dark heart of experiencing trauma, and in particular facing the possibility of dying and the blank finality of death.
As I say, the customer does not shy away from subjects such as these and demand a 'sunny' artwork (although she likes those too, who doesn't?). I am incredibly grateful for this and it give me the strength to continue to work on my ideas for an exhibition of some sort in the future, based on the experience of liminality, and the phenomenology of trauma.