I’ve recently been reading Art Psychotherapy Groups where Sally Skaife and Val Huet cite Bion’s concept of ‘containment’ (1962) in which the group is a container both during the verbal and the art-making process. They go onto describe the art work as providing three phases of containment: projection, digestion and re-introjection. ‘Material is projected and represented in the image. It is then digested within the process of art making and during the group discussion’ (1998:6).
One of the things I’m increasingly thinking about is the function of the container to detoxify thoughts and feelings that are harmful or painful. I have been listening to a podcast about the paintings of Frank Bowling. It’s made me think about the viscosity of paint as an art material and something that I increasingly wanted to experiment with in studio practice. One idea has been to make casts of bowls using different colours of acrylic paint which are poured or ‘swirled’ around the bowl. Having tried this out during studio time, I’ve started to think about containment in terms of digestion/ digestive processes and stomach acid. It’s made me think a lot about bodily functions or bodily fluids. I’m imagining the bowels or the stomach churning though anatomically what does this look like? What colour is stomach acid? The colours are important.
I’ve also started to think about the work I’ve made regarding self-contaiment. Perhaps this sense of being trapped (that is synonimous with the imagery) relays my own experience to being left exposed/ open within the therapy setting.
Skaife, S. & V, Huet, (1998), Art Psychotherapy Groups: Between Pictures and Words, Sussex: Routledge
Tate, (2012), Artist’s Talk: Frank Bowling, Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/talks-and-lectures/artists-talk-frank-bowling, (accessed: 01/12/2012)