2020 was a year of contractions and expansions of our liberties. Wearing masks has become second nature while it once seemed an imposition. We have adopted new practices and modified our behaviour to get through this crisis.
Being confined and unconfined - we ebb in and out, from being solitary to social, and back again. Veiled and unveiled. Starved of the intimacy of friends, family and lovers, we bridge the gap through whatever means we can.
‘Unconfined’ has been my way of exploring intimacy and celebrating embodiment.
I became interested in compositions with multiple bodies and intimate portraits and this made me re-engage with art history - looking for depictions of the body that were celebratory and unashamed. I was interested in making new versions of old themes while also seeing the present from a classical perspective.
Unveiled, unclothed, revealed. Skin next to skin.
To find source material I also looked outside the art world, to pornography. Translating graphic images into paint is like applying a filter to a lens. I show you what I see.
I am not interested in the idea of the static body as object - but more the body as self aware and sensory.
The body of desire and longing. Of sensuality and discovery.
There is something very honest about desire. Desire is hunger - is instinct. A craving for connection and escape from isolation.
The New Battle Dress
These paintings are an emotional response to the service the medical professions are doing during the Corona outbreak. The mask is the new battle dress. Usually associated with impersonality - it has began to mean something different. It not only protects us, it protects others and so has become a symbol of universal care. Factory made, custom made or home made from whatever is available in the house - it has developed a universal currency and meaning.
There is a marked contrast at the moment between the many people confined at home, and the few on the front lines endangering themselves working relentlessly to save lives.
This series was sparked off by an article on hospital staff in South Korea who, like many, found it necessary to protect their faces with plasters after daily shifts of ten hours wearing protective clothing. Other articles show health workers worldwide with their faces marked with temporary body scarifications. It is difficult not to be impacted by this display of raw humanity and service.
The Confinement Paintings
Like many cultures Tahitians strive to integrate the narrative of their past with the invasion of global popular culture. The Tiki has become a brand, a logo or an icon for Tahiti, in the same way as Mickey Mouse acts like a global ambassador for the pervasive soft power of Disney and the American dream. Its iconography transcends borders and continents.
TikiMiki represents this alliance between indigenous and popular culture.
EclectoMania is my Cadavre Exquis of unlikely pairings.
Cultural collisions, appropriations and hijacks. Icons, masks, pre and post industrial, tribalism and globalism. Spiritual fetish and sexual fetish.
EclectoMania is a confused homage to my influences both looking backwards to the past and forwards to the creation of new possible tribes.