For the last few months I have been saving the face wipes I use to remove make up at the end of each day. Some may consider this to be the epitomy of the artist who is physically unable to throw anything away; that there is a good chance I am also saving hair from my brush and skin cells lodged in the fluff that collects in the tumble dryer filter! In fact, there has been plenty of method and theory in my ‘collection’.
The piece may become a functional sheet (bedsheet, tablecloth, towel) symbolic of a struggle with identity. This is lodged somewhere between the pressures of achieving in all areas of life with some degree of perfection: as an employee, a mother, a domestic goddess, cook, hostess, friend, academically aspirational yet appropriately maternal. Women are surrounded by trillion dollar beauty and fitness industries who have sales tactics that are essentially designed to make us feel bad about ourselves. I am exploring this in numerous ways, and why, as educated women we allow ourselves to buy into it. Stitching and then painting used face wipes is just one direction. It explores a superficiality and a sense of waste (wasted time, wasted product, wasted ‘performance’, wasted anxiety). As I am stitching into these pieces of fabric I am aware of the smell of chemicals used to make me feel ‘clean’. Stitching these together feels bizarrely medical. I recognise how much I have been manipulated by a system in which I turned from a child into a woman and adopted beliefs about myself that were fiction.
The painting of this particular ‘canvas’ will link to my current paintings, though less abstract. Painting in a similar style to Marlene Dumas and Lorraine Bohonos loose watercolours (below) feels appropriate. Gestural and transient.
L – Lorraine Bohonos R – Marlene Dumas (both images – google)
Watch this space….