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.