With my written coursework finished, my attention has shifted back to my art practice and to ideas that I started work on last year. A continued interest throughout this time as being been around the theme of containment and with that I have generated a series of new works which I feel happy showing to others.
Duct is part of a series of works entitled Forms of Containment, a reference to the influential British psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion. In a therapeutic context the term ‘containment’ describes the safe and holding environment that enables patients or clients to actively project their feelings onto the therapist which are then contained, detoxified and given back to the client in a more manageable form (Edwards, 2004: 47).
Duct works to express something of the unstable, perilous nature of the therapeutic relationship; often both the client and the therapist are affected and changed in some way. I often associate the rigour of the therapeutic process with the dynamic qualities of clay being shaped on a potter’s wheel. One might reshape or reframe one’s way of thinking as a result of effective therapeutic intervention. The image of clay being manipulated on a wheel is linked to my own understanding of therapy as a transformative, yet hazardous, process.
The imagery used for these works was generated by scanning my face on a photocopier. The contorted expressions are as a result of pressing my face up against the glass of the scanner and then manipulating these images in Photoshop, either by squashing the image or stretching them out over several pages so that hands and faces become long, fluid forms.
The qualities of these images reminds me of a project undertaken by Jenny Saville and Glen Luchford called Closed Contact, in which Saville’ body and face are pressed up against a sheet of glass and photographed. Although in contrast, within my own works, I have chosen to use only black and white images to in some way disguise these figurative elements. I want to encourage viewers to really look at the works before determining whether these are indeed distorted faces and bodies or something else altogether. As such the absence, of colour to discern skin tones, lips, eyes, hair encourages this type of active or investigatory viewing.
Another facet of these works I really like is that they are segmented and taken and restacked in a different order. I found that it was better to work in this way as when I stuck the individual segments together I was left with this long, inflexible form that was difficult to store and move. It also means that I can mix different parts together or add to them.
Edwards, D., (2004), Art Therapy, London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
S. Mora, X. (2013), Writing about Scanface, Available at: https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/writing-about-scanface/ (accessed: 07.05.15)