I have noticed that this project and many of its precedents prioritise the representation of the self, whether that be in the form of photo-realism or mixed-media sculpture. I believe that this happened as a consequential product of a society based in individualistic values, my observation of others and myself as we become increasingly self-absorbed.
My primary influences in this project have been Rachel Maclean, whose graphically entertaining ‘WOT U 🙂 ABOUT?’ sparked questions about our selfie and crowd-pleasing culture. Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror episode ‘Nosedive’ raised similar dystopian questions.
I have been further influenced by the works of by Susan Hiller and Ryoji Ikeda. I realise that the work that sways me has a theme: screens. Screens confront the viewer with the technological and mental influence they have on us. I am choosing not to use them because I want to present the audience with their reality. I would like my work to act as the devil’s advocate, ‘feeding the beast of narcissism’.
I like to keep playfulness a fighting theme in my work which works to pose deeper questions as each element of the work is scrutinised. Typically, I do this by combining elementary colours and objects in my work that reflect what I see around me (balloons, canisters, recreational substances).
However, this time I wanted my work, rather than present what I see, reflect it. As a result of this, my most recent project includes the use of broken and whole mirrors – both which reflect ourselves and our collective broken psyche, being products of narcissism. The pool, included in the myth of Narcissus, saw the main character – the audience – drown in his own reflection. The silver/mirror paint adds a homogeneous aspect to the piece, catering to its aesthetic, posing questions of the shallowness of the creator and ‘crowd-pleasing’.
In the past, the act of owning a mirror indicated the social status of the owner therefore, becoming a means of both physical and social assurance. However, are significant part of our psychological development became absorbed in our imitations of reality, as opposed to what is in front of us. The vast shift from using Obsidian to silvered glass to cameras and our recent advancements in virtual reality has warped our perception, rendering us more isolated and self-absorbed.
I don’t typically read Dan Brown, but after many terrible reviews surrounding his fanatical ‘conspiratorial hogwash’, I decided to give ‘The Symbol’ a try. With his constant references to the symbolism buried deep within the practice of Freemasonry, I became increasingly interested in the idea of presenting this piece in the form of a shrine – complete with religious iconography such as candles, a baptism pool (Christianity), sulphur and an hourglass (Chamber of Reflection, Freemasonry).
A shrine or a “spiritual clinic” is traditionally used as a means to better oneself through a process of self-reflection and I wanted to utilise this notion by placing the audience in the position of Narcissus, by confronting them with an image of themselves using water and mirrors that both act a reflective and refractive surfaces.
THE ‘V’ IN VITRIOL :