Studies for Soulless Portrait
A series of unfinished works on paper were lying in portfolios amongst a hundred other works in similar states of being. Towards the end of 2016 the call for me to enter back into dialogue with them, an itch needing to complete the discussion, caused me to consider how to scratch these works into some kind of unity. I'd been working with the dark shadow image of the cotyledon for about a year and a half, a mourning image that signified loss in its absence of form and hope in the potential held in its infantile fecundity. I needed an antithesis to that presence and I arrived at an image taken from my wall drawings, the snowdrop image sourced from the medieval symbol of the lily. The absence of my father’s presence reshaped itself into a ghostly linear image, formless, but for its stamen and the casting of its shadow onto the surface of the paper, which holds the manipulated pigments that give the illusion of presence, looking like somewhere. The studies for the soulless portrait lent themselves to becoming portraits of a soul, a soul that lives on in the world as illusive as the identity of the places that are almost places; they remain just illusions of space and thing. The soul that forms itself in the atmosphere of early morning mists and shadow play, allow these portraits to become a body, a body of work and a bodily presence.