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Transition / 1 January 2009

The Palace experience is fading, just a memory now, and as I meander onwards, I am finally free to explore the many facets of what it is to be human.

The journey has in fact already begun; recent artwork is often large scale such that the physical energy and pulse of consciousness as it embarks on its imagined expeditions is captured within the artwork. I have abandoned the geographic landscape and now take the position of armchair traveller where I capture the moment in front of me.

The repetitive process of drawing assists a smooth transition from reality to the imaginary, where only conscious intervention limits the vitality of the adventure. The fussy materiality of the earlier work has been discarded and instead the blots, leaks and clots of the mark making are, it could be said, reminiscent of body processes over which we have a barely adequate control. Likewise the butcher’s-block palette, with its fatty yellows and liverish purples, undermines any feelings of aesthetic detachment: it is as if you are being turned inside out. But, nevertheless, beyond these corporeal references a narrative unfolds in which shared fragmented experiences and memories re-emerge at a dance revealing a clearer universal landscape.

On the 20/02/08, as a starting point, I will be drawing from Ruben’s painting of “The Massacre of the Innocents” (National Gallery London). Within this charged narrative painting the whole gamut of human suffering emerge - grief, pain and violence. It is an orchestrated drama, a seething mass of distress and brutality. The details of the painting are compelling: the almost palpable scratching on the executioner's cheek; and the bowed head of the mourning, faceless mother beside the heap of dead children.

It could be perceived that this is a particularly violent painting to stimulate a new series of artworks, and it is. But in the wake and distressing aftermath of the recent political unrest in Gaza, and as someone who spent her formative years living in the Middle East, I feel compelled to consider this important historical subject at a moment when, uncomfortably the subject and narrative are still of relevance today. The narrative is perhaps as an indication that, despite progression and the passage of time, aspects of the human condition remain the same.

Keywords: visual art