Reflecting on my year in Cyprus

Reflecting on my year in Cyprus; the environment, plant life, animal life, development, consumption, landscape, my aim for the final show was to create a space that reflected my response to all of these physical attributes of the island. Developing the perfectly symmetrical inkblot into a large-scale sculpture embodying the sensual forms I have observed in this environment appearing from the floor of sand with chocolate pouring from every orifice. I have attempted to comment on the seductive qualities of the island whilst trying to simultaneously appeal to and disgust the viewer. The skeletal forms protruding from the walls, reminiscent of cacti defence systems, are at first visually attractive and then, upon closer inspection, threatening and aggressive. The juxtaposition of hard plaster against soft chocolate, sculpted mdf bone-like forms against stuffed fleshly latex attempt to provide a visual contradiction for the viewer, again relating to my surroundings. Upon entering the sand filled installation, the viewer is confronted by a repetitive soundtrack comprising thirty-six verbs relating to the somewhat unnecessary routine of beautification, self-policing and consumption. These words appear as written text on a series of three figurative drawings, which attempt to show a personal struggle during my stay in Cyprus. Family bereavements and feelings of isolation also fueled the production of a blanket-covered figure, solitary and crouched on the floor of the gallery space. I became obsessed with budgeting, not being wasteful (particularly when witnessing such waste and a lack of recycling and spoiling of the environment). I kept every single cash withdrawal and purchase receipt to use to draw on instead of buying a new sketchbook. Struggling between a sense of rigid self-control and a total lack of routine, drawings varied from hard skeletal forms penetrating through lines of stitches into sensual vulvic pencil drawings. A series of stuffed canvases have played on this struggle between the skeletal and the sensual. With a view to producing small scale, more accessible works (both visually and in dimension) using the fleshly latex sculptural inkblots as an opening to look beyond the surface of the canvas. Drawing the viewer in to the canvas as object rather than painted surface. The works play on visual desire to explore with zip opening, corseted entry and splayed canvas skin and on close inspection visually disturb. To contradict the concave, vulvic canvases, a series of defensive sculpted mdf bonelike profiles protrude through the canvas surface, pushing the viewer away. Within the simplistic environment of the Lempa studios, my practice has temporarily moved away from the direct body casting of previous works towards a more detached way of sculpting. Still of the body but producing a series of separated components or suggestive imagery to evoke skeletal and sensual structures. The basic natural forms in Cyprus, so simple yet so beautiful, intriguing and often simultaneously disgusting. Soft, sensual openings, entrances and voids alongside prickly, skeletal defensive protrusions, the main inspiration for and effect upon my work whilst in Cyprus. Commenting on the beautiful against the ugly, the rich landscape against the appalling consumption and littering, these polarities in existence around me and my placement within this either proliferating the situation by buying in to it or a complete refusal to consume it. The vulvic form has embodied the device for consuming, the devouring void with viscous matter spilling from its labia, swallowing its surroundings and being swallowed by its surroundings. The skeletal spikes simultaneously feed and rape the sensual form as well as acting as a defense and protection. The stuffed latex spikes and plaster and chocolate vulvic form installation are gradually drying out, withering and aging in this environment. Insects are infesting the melted mars bars from the local beach sand, which scurry adding movement to the piece when disturbed by viewers. The decomposition and impermanence of this piece runs parallel to our inevitable transience and results in the need to recreate the artwork for new spaces for future exhibitions. I aim to develop the scale and number of components within the installation with a view to completely immersing the viewer in the work as well as in the sound.

Leave a comment