An ongoing photographic series. A pilgrimage home.
As I play with these prints they spin out of my fingers and into a scattered pile on the coffee table. They make sense this way. A collection of memories, check ins, points in time pinned in my mind, a confusion of scenarios that help me make sense of the way I see the world. I am bringing together the edges in order to make a whole, an off centre, warped and mysterious whole. Their little form speaks to me of diary entries, elements of a story, snapshots; of fragility and preciousness and intimacy. They are an invitation into a personal story where you otherwise are not allowed.
The stories are at first an introduction into the banality of life but on closer viewing I hope there is an audience that is intrigued by the gloriousness of a budget motel, the eeriness of a figure trapped in a pool of water, the frenetic energy of a dusk horizon caught in a window, the possibility in an open door where the mood is set by a not quite straight painting before you even enter.
For me the images conjure up experiences of melancholy songs sung by deep voiced girls, the relieved sigh of temperature dropping across a still night sky and the distinct feeling that shifts in me when I notice the dusk light shaping the shadows.
The series speaks to me of viewing life in a unique light, of finding introspection in imagery, of capturing poetry of place.
The challenge has been to accept the vision I have, to overcome the awkwardness that maybe how I see life is not interesting enough. To realise I am unique and my vision is like no other and to string it all together, this life, with a certain sensibility.
I carry you here. Six. 1985.
I soak the tarlatan in a teacup of dusty pink pigment and hot water. It reminds me of a womb, its fibrous weaves are swimming or are they drowning? When I pull it out and onto the book press it falls however which way it wants to. I stand looking at it for a moment wanting to rearrange it but knowing this process isn’t about perfection.
I spend time running my fingers over the detailed texture of the prints. I think of my Mum and the many layers of life we share. I’ve been grappling with inherited trauma. Of how she carried me even though they told her I was dead. Of how I carried her mental chaos for most of my life. Tears well up as I sink into the gravity of living a life of inherited experience. To me these prints echo the contract I have with my Mum, that if I keep her safe, she will keep me safe. I inherited her trauma, it makes my shoulders ache with weight and tightens the muscles of my inner thighs. Yet they also speak to me of feeling safe in their womb like reflection, they feel motherly and soft. I explore how a monotype can show an embodied experience and how printmaking allows me to act out that experience through gesture.
I pull hard against the book press lever, all my weight helping to emboss the organ like figure into the paper. The weight of me is embedded in this print. The weight of all I carry goes into the fleshy heart of it.
When I look at artist Roma Auskalnyte I understand the need to use the body as expression. She uses her body as a tool, as a printing press and explores how every action and gesture informs her work. She, like me, wants to express the body’s behaviour in print. Her work Punishment 2014 helped inform my own ideas around weight, impressions and the physicality of print. I smile as I remember finding support in photographer Molly Lamb’s series “Let it go’. The poetry and simplicity of speaking to her own inheritance of emotional terrain helped me to engage in a subject that sometimes felt too raw and overwhelming to delve into.
I see the bleeding marks washing to the edge of the paper. The reveal is my favourite part. In this one I see a frail human, the next a sleeping foetus, the next I have to turn upside down then sideways to make out an anatomical heart. On it goes, the sinew, the staining, all of them of a size that would fit just right in my body.