Environmental Artworks - 5% of all sales are donated to The Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
The works explore my belief in the life changing effects in maintaining & nurturing our connection to nature - Thank you
Representations of digital experiences & modern quality of life through 19th century interior spaces.
Running parallel to my landscapes or, ‘Exteriors' my interior pieces take a psychological look at humanity through it’s modern behaviours. In the first collection I study how contemporary life has afforded us the time to develop new social skills. We have essentially mastered & nick-named strange new ways to digitally hunt for our food, be that cat-fishing or much more open methods of marketing our 'digital self' instead of literally hunting & gathering. If we look good on instagram or we represent an ideal online, we can sell our wares & thus, buy food, pay our mortgages etc. These newly developed skills are rooted in our modern survival but have in a side effect motivated the development of the darker mental muscles that every human is capable of flexing.
This quickly becomes much more complex than basic survival, on both a legal scale & a psychologically damaging one & many people with a propensity for abuse, cruelty or rudimentary greed, become more adept at 'playing with their food’ over hunting for it.
Society as a consequence grapples on a daily basis with identifying & avoiding those who've mastered the art of using digital spaces & etiquettes to cloak their intentions. This may be through simple ways of mimicking goodness or a more brazen use of a perfectly just cause to climb to saintly heights in the eyes of a social media community.
In a digital world, a false sense of sincerity & conviction is easily built without in fact doing a single good thing or worse, whilst knowingly behaving with mal-intent.
All of these behaviours are digitally presented with new, normalised titles like 'Phishing' but these traits are well-fed habitual animals which are already well named as the insidious creatures they are...
Sociopathic, Narcissistic, Machiavellian or Criminal.
'Library' Votive Sketches for The Lararium
Original Design Drawing
...The Interiors began with the idea of a giant print where everything I study & discuss could convene, a representation of digital spaces & human behaviours within them.
This was inspired by my passion for the tiny temple-like structures built for Roman & Greek Votives to live in called, Larariums. Votives or specifically, 'Lares' (hence, Lararium) were tiny prayer figures which represented each prayer or request to the gods & the Larariums ended up looking much like our modern day doll houses, (you can read more in my creative blog post)
The huge print thus shows a cross-sectioned 19th century 'house' & in each 'room' or interior space, miniature representations of the social & historical studies I look at are depicted, which I've nick-named my 'Votive Prints'. These change to tell different narratives with each print run.
Inspired by 19th cent architectural spaces & fashions which look to classical Roman & Greek design & philosophy, I studied & drew everything from clothing to garden design. I studied furnishings, crockery & cook books (& I've subsequently & happily become an accidental food & clothing historian) medicine, politics & travel... & this built a much deeper understanding of social, political & artistic life in these periods.
I began to compare the ancient, the 19th century & my own lifestyle...
My depictions of these spaces became a form of illustrative language, a sort of hieroglyph with which I began to feel I could speak.
The more I studied, the more I could see how so many contemporary mindsets & social situations still fitted the mould of this 200 & indeed 2000 year old concept of civilised life & etiquette, as well as how people are still working out how to navigate & manipulate it...
It took 17 years of regularly reporting repeat symptoms which all pointed to endometriosis to my GP's, before getting an ultrasound referral & when I had my first, it was external & nothing was detected.
This left me experiencing what had become a very familiar patronising & rushed appointment lasting approximately 45 seconds, with a male doctor who informed me I was simply, ''too young'' to have anything wrong with me & ''looked fine'' so I must be in great health.
Women are often punished for putting on a brave face like this & put between a rock & a hard place as presenting & caring for ourselves despite the pain we are in means doctors tell us we must be well & if we turn up looking sickly or dishevelled, we are asked pointed questions which suggest we are to blame for our own poor health as a result of not trying hard enough or being tough enough to tolerate what pain is simply expected & ''normal'' in being female.
In hindsight, this particular doctor like many, was complying with a diagnostic system which he knew wouldn't reveal anything & like too many people being paid & trusted to do a job, he was 'actively doing nothing' about the flaws in that system.
His web page still boasts his caring, unquestioned investment in womens health.
To bookend painting a picture of my experience, when the pain became severe age 20, the first doctor I asked to help investigate stated, 'Well, you're not dying so what do you want me to do?'' The effort to crawl to this appointment & every day of work, play or duty since has been a struggle not only unaided by medical services but hindered by them. Even a diagnosis via private care is quick & affordable to attain & would have dramatically changed my life for the better for the last decade if only an NHS professional had engaged with me responsibly
In 2019 I pushed for a second scan & by chance the sonographer tried an internal scan which immediately clued her in to how severe my situation was. This permitted surgical investigation & when they finally performed a laparoscopy in March 2021, they found my organs, including my bladder & ovaries, were fused together & utterly riddled with cysts & scars. They now suspect my diaphragm has also been hit, though their opportunity to investigate this was unused as NHS guidelines stipulate only investigating the pelvic region regardless of the diseases severity or patients reports of symptoms. The neglected development of scarring, both abdominal, possible thoracic & diagnosed as in the brain ( either endometrial tissue or as a result of heavy prolonged cyclical blood loss & subsequent immune system hits) have caused a large scar on my brain & immense physical pain for which I currently have no treatments or support.
My story is sadly a very typical one, may women who've even endured surgical diagnosis still battle with GP's who try to convince them the problem is all in their head or is simply not severe enough to require support.
...Then came the individual smaller spaces.
I started to use oil paints to add a different kind of 'votive' one representative of a persons psyche over the illustrated studies of furnishings & spaces.
These became 'fleshy' organic creatures, moving around the social protocol represented in the placement & use of the furnishings, table settings & rooms, yet suspended & separate from them in more of a mimic than an interaction.
'Gannets Affairs' (drawing work above) for example, is about greed & lies. One of the most common issues confided to me in my life, has been around a quarrel or concern for one half of an established monogamous couple, regarding their partners private communications with other people.
Wether a place for initiating a physical affair or a point where appropriate behaviour simply goes out of the window, it almost always ended with a betrayal & subsequent separation & it's been a 'social media problem' for so long that we've become as used to it as a wax seal on a letter...
The print depicts a locked writing desk - the 19th century mobile phone... if you don't have the key, you cannot access the communications between one person & another. In literature the writing desk is often romanticised as a place where protagonists & villains make a declarations & forge falsities, (though Alice brushed it off as unimportant in it's similarity to a raven)
Yet this chamber of thoughts, in both it's modern & historical use remains an empty wooden artifice void of context, purely representative of the individual using it.
In all of my fleshy floating psyches, I represent a physical form for varying agendas, abusers, & digital versions of real people with which we must all navigate interaction to a degree/.
'The Lararium' Concept work
Rotunda - Girl Playing With A Hologram, (Left)
This is a design sketch for another interior piece which you will see in the first collection. It looks at the main themes of my work very directly. The image on first sight, seems a harmless depiction of a 19th cent child, in a typically 19th cent style of drawing, which one then notices is juxtaposed with the fact that she is playing with a hologram. This is the first in a series of works showing people interacting with & recreating digital copies of 'exterior' or natural matter, mostly organic forms which are no longer safe to spend time actually interacting with outdoors & so as humans tend to do, denial & even arrogance is put up in the face of the messes we make & we turn to technology to replace natural experiences, rather than suffer the consequence of cleaning up after ourselves.
This child understands what a rotunda is, that she may even be stood inside one, but rarely or never gets to see one set among rolling green hills or explore architectural structures from any exterior view point.
She is experiencing an illusion & this 'gadget' is as close as she'll be allowed to the original concept of architecture or its harmony with surroundings...
Here I return to my Frank Lloyd Wright quote - ''...Without a harmony & progress with nature (young people) can learn nothing truly in this new system''
(full quote on my homepage)
'Rotunda Hologram - Concept Quick Sketch'