‘Out of the Darkness’ is a series of work considering various aspects of the issue of child abuse. I generate narratives involving the image of ‘the child’, but rather than using the beauty of the damaged, innocent child to arouse empathy or sympathy, my ‘child’ serves as a metaphor for my anger at the social imbalances of power, conditioning and complacency that exist, allowing such crimes to continue to be committed.
“To gaze implies more than to look at – it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the ‘gaze’.” (Schroeder, 2002). Theories of ‘the gaze’ inform this work, as I am particularly interested in the power of the penetrating ‘gaze’ as an instrument to move the viewer out of complacency. The definition of ‘the gaze’ is debated and defined by different theoretical and political approaches but for the purposes of my work I have considered psychoanalytical, philosophical, theoretical and scientific ideas, all of which have addressed various concepts of the gaze and their power relationships. (Lacan,1981, Sartre, 1943; Foucault, 1980; Mulvey, 1975; Hooks, 1992, Bateson & Nettle, 2006). In my work the confronting, direct gaze of the child is set to defy your gaze and demand your attention, contemplation and introspection. By assuming the role of ‘the gazer’ it aims to reduce you to ‘the object’, placing you as the ‘stain’ in the scopic field of the ‘Other’. Cues and symbolism are set to work in collaboration with a, now stimulated, internalized gaze.
Of course, this subject matter opens many avenues of research, and each area begins to evolve into something new and quite different from the last, each seeming equally as relevant and valid. For this reason I have compartmentalised my work in order to allow myself the freedom to work on each concept separately and to use various methods and processes to achieve the desired impact.
Animated digital with audio, created as part of installation ‘Out of the Darkness’, 2013.
Though my work usually begins with scribbled notes and sketches, photography and digital manipulation play a massive part in forming initial ideas . I find that working digitally allows me to play with ideas as well as build images relatively quickly. I also work to finished digital pieces, in order to build narratives which complement the non-digital work. For ‘Out of the Darkness’ I generated so many images, that I planned to work with at a later date, that I wanted to collate them in a visual way, I decided to use the format of Tarot cards and playing cards to do this.
Weirdly, early in 2015, since creating these, I have become part of an artist collective working on a long term project to create a Tarot deck, ‘The Deck Project’, however, as I have to work to the Tarot imagery requirements I will have to create fresh images.
The work for ‘Out of the Darkness’ is ongoing, if you go to the pages below you can see how the research and work has evolved to date, and how it has begun to form other projects: