Me or Not-me

Oil on canvas
50cm x 60cm
January, 2021

 

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Mother-Angels
Mother-Angels

Oil on canvas
50cm x 60cm
January, 2021

Me or not-me is a self portrait painted using oil glazes. The background is very dark and throws the face and hands into the light. The figure holds a smiley  emoji mask. Painting self portraits allows me to explore ideas of self. I was interested in this painting in the ways we present ourselves.

I had the idea of incorporating made objects that stand for identity within the painting, in this case I made the emoji mask from a paper plate, papier mache and acrylic paint. It is there to show how we put on a constructed happy face when we show ourselves to the world, but we leave behind traces of the construction of our masks as we go.

Emojis are such accepted shorthand for emotions now in the way we communicate online and endanger nuance in seeing how people truly are.I also enjoyed the contrast between the notion of an electronic signifier and a handmade version of it.

It gave me a chance to practice the traditional oil painting technique of oil glazing and present a female representation of a traditionally male artist pose/style; the pose and style reminded me of Durer and Caravaggio.

I like the sense of the self being ‘sedimented’ into the layers of the painting, referencing psychoanalytic ideas and the writing of Judith Butler, and also of a feature of contemporary culture in a traditional painting.

 

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