I believe that the environment we live in affects our ability to create. Therefore sometimes it is necessary to create the environment first. Well, this is what works for me, and is why it has taken five years to complete the environment for creativity to fully blossom. The environment I talk of is mostly exterior and therefore visual, however there is a flow through to the interior environment as a result of having a suitable space to work from. The renovations to the studio were in fact completed in 2015, but the renovation to my life was still a work in progress.
Last weekend I finally “hung” my body of work from the recently completed and final year of an Arts degree (Bachelor of Visual Art), onto the walls of my studio. Interestingly (as you can see) there are no body’s, and the portraits wear headgear reminiscent of a death mask. I started with only two portraits and ended up doing five, and ironic that in the end they all fitted so perfectly onto this funny curved wall which is the main hanging space in the studio. It was as if I had somehow subconsciously painted these portraits to suit my studio; the middle one of me emerging from the dark, smack bang in the middle and the others facing inward, surrounding me in support.
Titled ‘The Immortal Soul’, this recently completed body of work explores my life experiences and spiritual beliefs. Through a combination of mythological, psychological and symbolic imagery, these paintings reflect facets of my persona. The sequence of five paintings is structured around the idea of personality archetypes as defined by Carl Jung and depicted through the language of surrealism. The masked aspect is symbolic of death. Through the executioners hood I reflect on my existential approach to life and how I have reinvented myself many times over. The hoods therefore speak of endings and new beginnings. All the portraits of the archetypes explore the concept that humans have two basic natures, the physical and the spiritual. They represent psychic intuition: the unseen inner life, which guides me in the physical world.
When I stood back and looked at my work, I was reminded of the quote by T.S Elliot, ” we shall not cease from exploring, and at the end of our exploring will be to arrive and know the place for the first time”. Even though I was born with this gift, I felt a sense accomplishment, I was amazed (that I could do this), and they made me feel worthy. These paintings define me right now, but in five-ten years better paintings will define me, and THAT is the power of self discovery through ART.
HAIL ART!……long may it live (after the resurrection)!
One thought on “My body of work – the heads of agreement!”
Wow, the big reveal. Seeing the five painting aligned creates a powerful impact. I applaud you Barbara, the finished works displayed together look magnificent. Congratulations on your achievement and for the time and effort and sheer dedication to your art that you have invested in creating these stunning images. Breathtaking.