Stoking the Fires
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.