In this painting I was looking into regret. The immediate feeling one gets when faced with a problem that you created. You are lost, you have no control anymore over the events that have unfolded, and with a mental health problem, this emotion is expanded, ten-fold.
We are fragile creatures, deep down. We all have our limits. We all struggle with our demons.
This painting is 4ft x 4ft, oils on canvas and was worked on with a limited pallet of Titanium white, Payne’s grey and Ivory Black. The original still is taken from the motion picture, The Quiet Man.
With the 1st Semester of year 2 finished, i’ve managed to get my four paintings hung for assessment.
Using film stills, i have attempted to look in to mental health and some of the issues many of us face on a daily basis. Four separate states of mind that can intertwine with each other. Fear, Explosion (breakdown), Anxiety and Regret.
I do not paint film stars. I paint emotion. I search within the world of Television and cinema. I convey emotional states, a snap shot of feelings that open up the truth of mental health.
Bobby Bakers show, Diary Drawings, is a exceptional look into mental health over the past 3 decades. An observant approach to broach a subject that has long been buried.
With deteriorating mental health in the mid 1990s, Baker was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and under went a journey, spanning the best part of a decade, through a system that many people to this day do not understand or view it as a weakness to be in that situation in the first place. In bakers own words she had taken a step into hell but was still living in the real world”. to keep her sense of humour and her art together through these times is a testament to her character.
There is a surrealist quality (unsurprising really due to the nature of her confinement) in the drawings. some dream-like qualities but in others some nightmarish views of her predicament. In the image Day 12, we see a picture of what appears to be a calm face. Using simple lines and colours the portrait seems to me, in all intents and purposes to be a quiet image of contemplation, but the unnerving aspect is the 2nd set of lips which could convey another psyche attempting to break free of the confides of the artists mind. Skip forward to image 25 and you see a the 2nd psyche, the mental anguish, escaping its prison to unleash a fury.
Bakers struggle through this nightmare was helped eventually through CBT and a psychotherapist who appears in her work. Her final outcome was to put on a show of the work in what I believe to be a continuation of her therapy. A therapy that had horrific fall backs throughout .In one picture her own psychiatrist is portrayed as a monster brandishing a meat clever as if to portray the hacking away at her therapy.
To give these struggles to the outside world, to allow people to appreciate the nightmares of your life can, in my opinion be only beneficial. This is a subject matter hidden away from the light of day and we are only just scratching the surface of what goes on within our mind. Bobby Baker deserves every credit for making this possible, for coming through the system and for sharing it with us all.