Always tentative about blogging after being away for so long. Lost the rhythm for it perhaps? Or feeling the need to explain where I've been to people who are no longer tuned in? Not to worry, It doesn't matter, there's news I must type so type it I will!.... (drumroll into an echoing empty cybersphere).... I finished my study!!!! Yes, that's exactly right - I graduated!!!!! Thinking about it now I really should have blogged about the whole thing a month ago when I was on a huge high, still reeling in shock that the body of work I had spent five months obsessively working on - while simultaneously preparing my ego for grace in the face of disappointment and failure - turned out to be actual art. Art someone might want in their collection (collectors wanted to buy it). Art someone might think deserves an award (it won an award). That kind of thing. The day before opening night I hated the work so much I just wished there was some way I could pull out, pull the plug on a three year effort, fake my own death somehow, anything but let this work see the light of day. Maybe my partner could ring tomorrow morning and explain to the teachers how I'd gone out the night before to buy some milk and instead run off to marry my secret internet lover in an, as of yet, undisclosed tax haven??? NO??! God, he's like soooo uncooperative!
Now that a month has passed since the night I seriously regard as one of the most amazing I've experienced since I gave birth to my beloved babies, and as I've had time to reconcile that sense my work is crap with the evidence it's not, I can't wait to get going on it again. And the best part is that I'm going to have that opportunity as the 'Emerging Artist of 2012' award I received from CraftACT has as it's prize a showcasing of my work in it's 2013 Centenary Programme. If I'm correct this award comes from a national selection which to be honest is the part that knocks me out the most. Of course every time I read their letter (photocopied 280 times now and wallpapered around the house) I can't believe it. That it's meant for me. That I'll ever be able to pull off a solo exhibition. But I just have to trust that these Industry people know what they are doing when it comes time to choosing. And then I have to get on with the art. So for a month I've just done nothing but relax, bask a bit in the fact and joyfully give my children undivided attention, something I've been longing to do. A few days ago however I opened up a new visual diary and began sketching out in words where I wanted to go with the above work. It wasn't difficult since throughout the semester the real difficulty had been in containing the work, distilling it down to it's conceptual bones. Now seems like the opportunity to flesh it out. And no coincidence I use anatomical references like bones and flesh as if anyone remembers work related posts before my blog hiatus the graduating work was heavily based in the anatomical. Titled Escape Artist I and Escape Artist II the two pieces project a narrative borrowed from personal experience, with chronic illness and long periods of social isolation, into the philosophical context of Existentialism to provide a framework
which examines human suffering and the discovery that suffering is, in a larger context, meaningless. I relied heavily here on the theories of existentialist philosophers Soren Kierkgaard and Albert Camus in regard to the lack of inherent meaning in human suffering. They offer three solutions to this dilemma - 1. Death or Suicide. 2. The adoption of religious or spiritual faith which requires a leap in faith and 3. An acceptance of the absurdity in the situation and a resolve to push on anyway. These works represents all three options in some way (by use of the colour black, the form in some ways coffin like, in others alter like) however in it's resolution fully embraces the third option of Absurdism - reflected visually and conceptually by way of a vintage circus which to me has always seemed the embodiment of absurdist existentialism with it's sideshows of freaks and impossible or demanding physical feats such as escaping a box nailed together, exhibiting super strength or going through life with a deformity. Nails become emblematic here as a symbol of both imprisonment and torture but similarly they represent the agent of freedom for Camus believed that by embracing the absurdity in one's suffering one is offered in reward true freedom and an opportunity to live by your own constructs.
The other significant element used in this work is in the textiles for the anatomical piece in Escape Artist I. This was to explore ideas about the nature of being human but made from purely physical elements that are vulnerable to illness and destined to decay - whether this reality can bring us closer to what it means to be human or does it conversely conflict with ideas of what humanity means.
Okay, I could probably rave on quite a bit more about what I wanted this work to project and how, but I truly doubt anyone's made it this far and frankly I'm even starting to bore myself - a sure warning sign in any blog post no one else is going to care. If you have got this far rest assured I've spent the holiday mindlessly making bunting, something it's impossible to attach much meaning to, and that I'm wearing the blogging cliche happily (photos to come. Incidentally bunting isn't as easy as they say....). :)