Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sybil's Ascension

                                                                                                   'Sybil's Ascension'

Despite the seemingly macabre subject, this was actually just meant to be a humorous look at how many souls a schizophrenic/ multiple personality person might have. It was inspired by Flora Rheta Schreiber's 1973 book entitled Sybil, which documents the first psychoanalysis of a multiple personality. The darkest 'soul' on the illustration floats above the rest as she is actually fired onto a sheet of glass which sits on top of the picture. The drawing is done in pen and watercolour, and I used instant coffee to paint these hills- the only thing instant coffee is good for in my books..

Not that you're asking, but yes, I've experimented a lot with methods of overlay, superimposition and transparency to add  depth and subtle texture to this series of artworks, which would otherwise appear a bit too flat and straightforward to express such ephemeral themes.. i think. I've found that the semi-opaque texture created by oxide painting on a sheet of glass translates well in the depiction of souls and apparitions and reflects the element of intangibility and the spirit world. Now you know.

A last note on this contradictory piece, bare with me here, because I must reiterate.. Children’s literature, folklores and fairytales are a great source of inspiration. Its not so much the stories that influence my work, but how something can appear sweet and childlike, but   there are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) underlying themes that are seriously inappropriate. Think of the witch that tries to roast Hansel and Gretel in her oven, Snow White who gets poisoned by her own step-mom, Red Riding Hood's beloved grandmother that gets devoured by a wolf, which she then disembowels, sews up with rock and drowns.  Its pretty horrific subject matter, yet they are such well loved childrens stories. In these visual narratives, the main character is often rendered in a way that may seem saccharine, but there is always (hopefully) a bit more to the story than just a pretty picture.

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