Zoe Catherine Kendall, artist, writer and human...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

An Interpretation of Synaesthesia and The Senses for Fabelist.

Perhaps controversially, I have decided to explore the sensuality and heightened sensory awareness that can occur during an intimate, sexual encounter. This involves the anticipation of something, the tension between participants or the tension across a stretched surface of skin. Perhaps even more controversially, I am exploring the heightened tension and sensory experience involved in BDSM.
I have been experimenting in the studio for a couple months, deciding the best way to approach the subject. As usual I am interested in text as well as visual imagery. I will attempt to use both of these methods in unison.

In order to increase the sensory and synaesthetic experience, I am collaborating with composer and musician Eunseog Lee who will be contributing to the tension, aprehension and the sense of restraint and response using chords and melodies on the piano forte.

I want the listening viewer to be left with an idea of this act for two in their mind, I want to invite them into the sensory experience, to create the atmosphere and the mood...

My visual imagery identifies with a female persona, a muse, an object of desire. Her subjugation perversely translates into her own desire, desire which resides just beyond reach. The result is a very interesting dynamic between two. However, with only the submissive side portrayed, a space is left open for the viewer to step into the role of protagonist. If this role is not comfortable, the viewer may default to bystander, voyeur or choose to relate to the female muse.

Her body and pose reveal tension and alertness. Her attention is focused as if only aware of her confined anticipation for another's will to be acted out and the following sensory reaction to occur: the sensations of pain, pleasure and physical release. Moreover the psychological release as her mind wanders from a vision of herself toward elements of sound, light, taste, colour and friction.

Her body is under stress, it is tense, taut, stretched out. I have been experimenting with oil paint on cotton. The fabric is unprimed so that the paint seaps in and the materiality remains fluid. For me, the cotton represents skin, flesh. I can stretch it to hang it and I can play with this tautness of the fabric to imply degrees of strain.

On the cotton, the viewer sees a painted image of her body emerging from the darkness into a pool of light. It is as if nothing else exists, all eyes, all ears, all awareness is pointed at her or located in her body. All other reality is momentarily suspended. All senses are gathered and bound together. This scene is furnished with hers and your full attention.

The black brush strokes surrounding the female are evocative of the lines a whip might leave across the skin or the shape and movement they would make as they travelled through the air around her body. 

The images which follow include the paintings described above, as well as other experimental work I've been trying out for the theme.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Brothers and Sisters in Acrylic

A new portrait series. Sayin' it in black, white and red...

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Other Art Fair, Paintings and Drawings

Connect Project, 5 new oil paintings: 'Talking with myself'.

Blossoming Mechanisms

Stoking the Fires

No More

My Monsters

The Forest at Night

These five oil paintings are the result of an investigation into my own primitive states of mind and difficult early childhood emotions for the connect project. The inspiration for this project came from a piece of work I was doing with a psychoanalyst in order to better understand, cope and deal with some reoccurring psychological difficulties I have experienced in my life. After being described by the therapist as suffering from a crisis of self-harm, and as a result of conversations with that therapist about my ability to connect with the difficult emotional states that were pre-empting and surrounding such crises, I decided to make my own journey of discovery and reconnection with those places in my mind that have caused me so much trouble using my art practice. The therapeutic process revealed the struggle I was having in actually connecting with the emotions surrounding my difficulties. I wasn’t allowing myself to really feel those spaces out, often intellectualising the material instead. In the end, this over intellectualising of something as primitive as a memory of early emotion wasn’t proving to be the most helpful method, I needed to bring the raw material to the table in a state of undress instead. That is exactly what I have strived to do with these paintings. The resulting work reveals states and processes including fear and perceived cruelty surrounding the violence of silence, tense environments, personal damage and self destruction, overwhelming forces of emotion and colourful coping mechanisms. The paintings are primitive and gestural in their application of paint, reminiscent of early childhood drawings. The subject of each painting is a mental image and the journey I have taken in attempting to depict these images visually expresses the vague uncertainty and lack of definition experienced in recalling such early emotional memories. It is as if the paintings speak out of a void, exist within a vacuum and threaten to consume through the emergence of their details.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Illustrations from Fragments of a Storm Suspended in Time

Back in 2011 Artist Collective and Independant Publisher Lazy Gramophone asked me to contribute to their TIME project by writing a short story and illustrating it. The resulting book will be published by Lazy later this year and comprises stories from a pick of writers including Sam Rawlings, William Conway, Tom Hirons and myself, spanning in its theme three generations from childhood to adolescence and adulthood to old age. Each story will be illustrated. As I am both a writer and an artist I was asked if I would illustrate my short story Fragments of a Storm Suspended in Time. Here are my finished felt tip illustrations and a preview excerpt from the story which Jotta published earlier this year.

Friday, 17 February 2012

How I Move Through My Days

A sculptural book and installation piece I exhibited at Serpentine Gallery's Centre for Possible Studies back in January as part of Imprint by Fabelist. Check the digital portfolio for close ups of the book and the installation, and below for the blurb!

'Life experiences imprint themselves on me day after day. Living patterns repeat themselves in a perpetual cycle. I collect memories as I go, reflecting on and contributing to these daily, monthly and yearly rhythms. Here, the mundane coalesces with the extraordinary and recollections blur into a dense internal narrative. I leave a foot print behind too, producing and discarding a considerable amount of detritus. Tesco receipts and appointment slips amass in the waste paper basket. Other more significant mementos remind me of difficult junctures and good times. The debris gathers as evidence of my living which I have been stock piling over the years.

For the Imprint project I began re-tracing my steps through unearthed letters, scribbled thoughts, sweet wrappers, to-do lists and medication packets. A picture began to emerge. Both personal and universal, the memorabilia chronicles a journey taken by all. My paper trail spoke to me of events, emotions and challenges which are experienced by most people at some point in their lives. The resulting story is not only autobiographical but societal and human.

I decided to make monuments of these often discarded remnants of daily life, painting a portrait of my life and of life today. A book format allowed for the detritus to be read, retained and reflected upon. Themes such as endurance, emotional upheaval, consumerism, health, romance and rituals like birthdays and personal preening arise. A current runs through the resulting work, a sense of continuity and rhythm. The tides of fortune and misfortune ebb and flow with as much regularity as the more mundane elements of life. The form and illustrations compound my reflections with nature. The sea acts as a metaphor for this life cycle and the circular, oscillating pages when upright take on the shape and glow of a radiant sun, overseeing the annular journey and holding it within the book. These souvenirs, this archive, tells our story.

Accompanying this work is a twenty line story poem, one line for every page of the book. The poem starts at the last significant moment and ends at the beginning again. We keep spinning around and around this story which has no start or finish whilst the poem continuously repeats.'

Story Poem

until, I don’t know what to do with my memories, where to house them, how to see them.

I tunnel, dive, duck and cover, swooping under and leaping over life’s little hurdles.

But life is a large hurdle, in the way of..?

I am journeying, often a lone navigator at the only helm I know, directing, leading the way through.

I will find things and places, destinations long since assigned like death and danger!

There are others on this journey too, sometimes we travel together, sometimes closer

we weave, wander, wallow, stop?

No – do not stop, you can never stop, even if you try, try so very hard…

I speak to myself, here can be lonely, oh so very lonely, wherever it is that I am today.

Sounds like heaven and hell converging, coming from without: bangs, whispers, weeping

and from inside a song, my words strummed to a heartbeat rhythm, my thoughts humming

percussion, street lights, buzz, drum, colour, light, laughter, cries…

Perpetual motion, new stories and renewed challenges

A stormy sea overwhelming and great wisps of hair, thick and untamed, blowing

harmonies, paintings, shadows and revelations, such excitement!

Great bellowing fits of eagerness rising from within: I must, I will, I can, I know..

And what of you, will you join me? Can we climb each other’s sails?

Slide together from above, playing games like love

and fooling about until I fall and you land on top of me

Both of us at once ceasing and finding a new way onward…

(and back to the start)

until, I don’t know what to do with my memories, where to house them, how to see them.

I tunnel, dive, duck and cover, swooping under and leaping over life’s little hurdles…

It was really exciting and satisfying to have an opportunity arise in which I could put to use my collected detritus. I had been collecting this stuff for a while, knowing that I wanted to do something with and not knowing quite what, and now, here it is. Thanks Fabelist!

The artwork is comprised entirely of collected detritus, PVA glue, acrylic paint and words.