This body of work presents a threshold between the conscious and subconscious of individuals. The exploration of the two worlds calls for the audience’s attention and empathy as everyone possesses two aspects of themselves. Our consciousness lives in the moments of daily life which is the face that we present to others, and our sub-consciousness is a world within us that often drifts from reality and holds our deepest emotions. The vision for this exhibition is to show the separation of the two aspects of the same identity through the framing of ineffable emotions and experiences.
My initial intention was to represent inner identity though moments and snapshots of daily life - as in the portrayal of a messy room, or a routine - like in the Mornings animation. However, my interest then drifted towards more ambiguous representations. The serenity of the characters and choice of colours are juxtaposed with the disturbing elements in my work. This aims to bring the viewer to reflect upon the two sides of their own identity.
The starting-point was initially inspired by Phillip Guston’s self-portrait Painting, Smoking, Eating (1972). This work sparked my interest through the artist’s use of colours and characterisation of himself as well as the use of recurring motifs from other works, creating a strong ambiguity that attracted me to his work. The miserable portrayal of his identity and habits influenced the theme of my exhibition on the framing of identity. Visually Guston’s work influenced my Remember When artwork, while conceptually he has influenced most of my other works such as Tranquil and Petrichor. Furthermore, the human-like figures central to my work are often naked characters with feminine features. In my work I choose to give clothing to the scenes representative of daily life – conscious moments - and choose nudity as a way to symbolise the intimacy of one’s subconscious, which is a very vulnerable part of ourselves as it holds our most private feelings. Throughout my artistic journey I noticed the recurring motif of framing emotions through windows, mirrors, and doors in my work, which serve to function as an outlook or passageway to the outside world as well as to the world within ourselves.
This body of work explores these themes through artworks in different mediums, which have been carefully selected to fit my artistic intention, predominantly acrylic on canvas, digital, a pencil drawing, embroidery, and a mixed media artwork. The use of these mediums allowed me to develop different techniques as well as offer a broad range of works for an audience to relate to, allowing them to visually experience the threshold between conscious and subconscious. Working in two-dimensional media, whilst experimenting with different artistic techniques, allowed me to present and translate emotions in a wide variety of ways.
The exhibition display aims to take the audience through a journey that brings them to reflect upon themselves by using the dynamics between smaller and larger pieces. The first paintings to be viewed will be the ones depicting scenes from various aspects of daily life; as they move forward into the space they will be able to observe my more ambiguous works, which give a sense of comfort through the expression of my characters, despite their disturbing settings or characteristics. In the centre of my exhibition space, Shifting will be displayed, as this work presents a visual illusion, which uses Patrick Hughes’ Reverspective technique. The many attempts to Shifting challenged my resilience but satisfy my desire to impress audiences through a dynamic artwork. As the viewer approaches the artwork, their perception of it will change, just like how we drift between conscious and unconscious states. For Petrichor, a pair of windows were installed in front of the painting. The presence of the windows forces the public to interact with the artwork in an unusual way: it invites them to move around the obstruction and to crouch down to view the painting. This physical interaction with painting is also present in Mirror Mirror on the Wall, creating a connection between the two works, despite their difference in scales. Making the public interact with my smallest work also enhances its presence, allowing it to go beyond its own physicality.