End Begin Exhibition
end begin exhibition
Photocollage has been part of artistic practice for many artists, from Pablo Picasso and George Braque’s work to Rauschenberg’s 3D assemblages and David Hockney’s Polaroid montages. The work I present here is a continuation of photocollage. The pieces exhibited are not glued but stitched. The work of Maurizio Anzeri was an inspiration when I saw his work in 2017 in “ICONOCLASTS”-Art out of the mainstream, Saatchi Gallery London. Anzeri stitches and embroiders directly on to vintage photographs, masking or enhancing the portraits he uses. His delicate stitching is fascinating to observe, the tiny holes in the delicate photographs without blemish. Anzeri uses the term photo-sculpture to describe his work, and I choose this term to describe this current body of work.
I encountered the work of Jenni Dutton in the course of my research on artists discussing dementia, . A wonderful textile artist who created beautiful portraits of her mother using embroidery, I admire this work for the honest portrayal of the changes dementia causes in loved ones. My pieces in this exhibition are also a form of storytelling. I have used personal family photographs to speak to the past in order that their stories have a new life. There are so many family stories that we forget, and there are many we are never told. There were a few uncovered in my own family photos. They are not explained here, just offered to the viewer with love.
250cm x 145cm
82 A4 photos machine stitched together. Grey satin binding with cotton threads attached.
Quilt is made from old family photos of my mother-in-law in her youth. I found these photos in an old suitcase and I was curious to see the woman I know when she was young. I discussed them with her in the hope she would remember more of her past. Some photos were of interest, but then I realised that her memories of these times have become lost, and she was mixing things together to create new stories. Confabulation is common among people with dementia when a new history is created amid the truth.
These photos are not part of my history, but they are full of familiar faces, of family and friends that were part of a large extended group to be found at gatherings and parties.
By printing them onto tracing paper I transformed the texture of the photos. They became translucent, like my mother-in-law’s memory. Coating them in PVA transformed them again, making them brittle and fragile, again like ageing memories.
I stitched them into a quilt as dementia had once been described to me as having a blanket of memories with frayed holes and so I created my own blanket of confabulated memories with holes. Cotton threads hanging from the binding symbolise unravelling and hanging on to memories by a thread
600cm x 21cm,
Wooden frame with satin binding, 43 x 31cm
Two rows of 20 A4 photos machine stitched together. One black and one white Satin binding Attached to frame with Velcro.
DNA is the story of two young people who met, fell in love, married and had a family, before one died after fifty-three years of marriage. They are my parents, hence the name of the piece DNA. I did not know these people who were young, carefree and happy. I know only the stories they told me.
As I looked through these old photos, I could see the love that carried them through the years. I have treated these photos to the same process as before, printing on tracing paper, coating with PVA and stitching together. These are colour photos and the intensity of the light catching them transforms and lifts them to a greater vibrancy.
The two lines of photos are bound with satin, one white binding as my mother is alive, one black for my dead father. They are attached to a frame at both ends signifying the beginning and ending of that period in their lives.
06 x 95 x 106cm.
Cotton sheeting coated with Paverpol.™
Chair is a piece that follows on from a painting I made a few years ago. The empty chair signifies loss or hope of a return, or it can represent evidence of long-absent occupants in an abandoned space. A chair is a familiar object, one we all use every day, created for the human body.
The chair is a physical reminder of human occupation of space, a proxy for humans not currently in the space.
This chair speaks to both a physical loss and to the loss of memory. Covered in a dust sheet it waits for someone to return. There is a faint body imprint of the person recently gone. It is a memory of a chair; with no visible support it is of another place..