HALF TRUTHS, 2020 Artist's Statement

This on-going (nearly finished) work forms a loosely woven fictional narrative around a female protagonist that is depicted in a small hand-drawn​ portrait. ‘Mrs Eyles’, a woman drawn in charcoal by another woman Betty Steer in 1962. The charity-shop portrait bookends this story.

 

Part still life, part landscape and part found imagery this series has slowly evolved to form a sometimes-cryptic narrative of a claustrophobic domestic stage next to pictures of - and images made in the landscape. The images hold a sense of theatrical tension or frustration including anger, perhaps even aggression. But this is not without a slice of melodrama. Saturated colour from out-dated camera filters offer a fuzzy lens through which to observe this recent past. One that is sometimes teetering on the edge of collapse.

 

I want the work to pick-out and acknowledge the everyday simple actions of ordinary women of the post-war generation. Seemingly small, often quiet, unacknowledged lived actions that in many real ways changed the world.

 

These frequent and automatic behaviours take huge amounts of emotional self-control. On top of this societal control is felt through the systems around them – and us. A society that is often built for men. Sacrifice, small and large is commonplace,​ particularly amongst working-class​ women. This is a story of small wars fought, lost and won through an ordinary life.

 

This is my mum's generation and in many ways,​ this work is an acknowledgement​ of her and those women I know. These are the women I grew up around.

 

There is a silence to the work. The photographic fixes these slightly sickly, nostalgic scenes from a faded but still remembered past. There is a sense of isolation too. But these women are not victims and also, not alone.

Photography and the photographic can act as a perfect half-truth - this story is both playfully made-up and very real.

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