I’ve been preparing a new piece of work for a brief group showing coming up in late May in a temporary location. Our gallery, once a car show room, is located just around the corner from my studios on a main road, which runs in and out of the city of Oxford.
I’m at a pivotal moment in my practice. I’ve spent the last three years building a body of work whose main focus has been the state of exile, and more specifically the Spanish Civil War as personal history. This exploration has been a huge catalyst in my work as an artist and immensely important in terms of my own personal narrative.
But there has been a parallel development. Alongside this investigation I have become aware – through a deep and personal interest in autism – that I am myself autistic. Equally seismic in implications to discovering my true Spanish heritage, this now dominates my emotional landscape. Spain is there but autism feels closer just now. This is to be expected only 5 weeks on from diagnosis.
So the group show has brought a particular challenge. This is a large group showing, a showcase for my beloved studios, in which the intensely personal is not a good fit. I am still emerging as my autistic self in any case, and want to take my time in how this is expressed in my professional life and through my work.
I know that these two aspects of my life – my history and my neurology are tightly bound. I feel they form a symbiotic echo chamber. Each aspect of my difference from the majority culture in which I find myself – a hispanic British and autistic woman – share in otherness. Exile as metaphor and reality serve in both. There can be a unity of expression as my dually culturally alienated selves have both masked and informed each other.
For this show I have produced a new piece of work which I feel captures this transitional moment and hints at a greater level of ambiguity in my work as a possible new direction. The accompanying text can be seen below. My sense is that this piece contains more by saying less. We’ll see.
“My practice is concerned with the state of exile.
Uncertain Weather System In Place (2016), represents a new departure whilst drawing on previous explorations.
A site specific piece, it has flowed partly from a restriction on wall space at the now empty VW garage showroom, but also from curiosity about showing my paintings as objects, sometimes propped but also on horizontal surfaces. This work, comprising of three intersecting painted panels, will occupy the floor. Walls often demand a more polished aesthetic and I wanted to create a piece which did not conform to this expectation.
The gallery space for this brief group showing under the title Dislocate, is due to be demolished. Temporal and unstable, this space seems perfect for the articulation of displacement and the haunting interplays of absence and presence.
Hovering between sculptural and painted forms, drawing on theatre and object work this piece also contains three objects from a growing repertoire of props and was made on my studio floor. The painted fields, each with a history of their own, take on the patina of flooring, and in parts appear wiped (as if by a mop) yet hold complex narratives. Serving also as landscape they reflect imaginary states of internal weather.
With the suggestion of departure and the gathering of essentials, the preparation for rupture or demarkation, this piece also hints at tribute and loss.
Uncertain Weather Systems in Place, Sonia Boué, mixed media (wax, sand, acrylic paint, framing tape, dried flowers and mirror). Three painted panels, 49.5×28 cm/ 69×29 cm/ 94×43 cm.”