I am a thief. I steal from people’s memories, like a collector, I want to somehow own their pain and suffering because I can no longer feel my own. What fascinates me is how we, as individuals, design and build strategies to avoid, cope with, reason with, our own mortality. I believe this is at the heart of what it means to be human.
In my practise I am constantly challenging notions of identity, whether it be through gender related iconography, particularly pertaining to the feminine within the Catholic Church or looking at how memory can shape and construct the psyche of the present. I see memory as the articulation of the self and I use it as a means to explore and understand human motivation. Memory is both loss and desire and it is between these two emotions that my work aims to oscillate.
I grew up within a strict Catholic ethos and Convent boarding school and these experiences have led me to question their patriarchal systems of control and to look at its subsequent influence within contemporary culture. So works such as Yummy Mummy are an act of direct confrontation, aimed at undermining their misogynistic values, both in a subversive and humorous way.
Time spent in places of worship has had an aesthetic effect on my work as well, particularly memories of visiting saint’s relics and seeing shards of wood, torn snippets of clothing, even phials of blood, displayed in ornate gilded boxes, like treasured artefacts.
It is perhaps the reason why I love to trawl through flea markets and charity shops, there is something both fascinating and melancholy about strangers cast of belongings. They all have a particular sensibility and are placed at a poignant paradox between cherished and forgotten.
Much of my work begins with a found object, then is either used directly or cast. Each project is approached in a unique way, so the materials I use are varied and with each new work a sensitive response to material and form is required whether it’s man made, organic or found and through the making process connections and relationships can evolve and develop, imbuing an object with new meaning but also allowing a residue to remain and resonate.
The Victorian dolls and clothing that I use have, inherent in them, a sinister quality. I try to push this quality to a point where innocence meets baleful. In order to open up a pathway between childhood trauma and adult fear and to question our deepest, most inherent fears. Similarly with the use of human hair in my work, which has a haunting, surreal quality and connection to the body. It acts as both love token and momenti mori allowing me to play with its connectedness between desire and repulsion. By exploring these binary connections between ritual and remembrance, love and loss, memory and desire I would like the work to create both a visceral response in the viewer as well as offering the possibility of a conceptual dialogue. I aim to make something of beauty with an underbelly of darkness, knowing that nothing remains the same.