Monday, 11 June 2012

This is me

Tomorrow I'll post about our day at Maitland Art Bazaar. Today I want to respond to Eden Rileys challenge that she put out on her blog this Saturday morning. We were packing up to go down to Maitland yesterday morning so I didn't have time to respond.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Recently I wrote how I've started investigating the world of "mummy bloggers". In the last few weeks I've started a list of blogs featuring down the right sidebar that I regularly read. Eden is not only my favourite blogger but was voted Australias best blogger of 2012. To get a greater understanding of why I'm writing about myself in this way today you might want to use the link to Edens blog.

Edens challenge is to answer the question "Who the hell are you?" As of writing this some 60+ other readers have responded and you can access their links on her blog by using the Fresh Horses Brigade linky published above. 




At the Art Bazaar yesterday I bought this little watercolour image (20x13cm) by Anna Buxton Soldal. When purchasing it I asked Anna if she was doing art at High School. She replied she had just finished her Bachelor of Fine Art at University of Newcastle! You know you are old when everybody under 30 still looks like they are high school students.

You know you are still young when you smile indulgently when the wrinklies complain "I don't feel old"...and indeed I don't and its disconcerting to see the grey haired and creased imposter who daily presents herself as "me" in the mirror.

In truth I am pretty comfortable with my aging process and who I am. One thing I have learned for sure is that my physical appearance is something I have very little control over. Existentially we have to manifest in some sort of physical, meat vehicle. We are the end result of biology and physiology, a flesh container for something truly remarkable and almost impossible to define - not simply a human animal, but a "person". 

The real "person" is little to do with the flesh container but is a life long project fulminating from within our environment and how we perceive and act within it. It is a construct based on nature and nurture and activity within the world. I once thought "who" we are was more a product of nurture but having worked in aged care and with people with intellectual disabilities I now believe it is more about nature - our physical, genetic, physiological and neurological inheritance. I have seen how pharmaceutical drugs can change behaviours and how as the elderly loose their memories from Dementia that the person loses their identity.

Annas little image really appealed to me because it resonates with ideas I have about my own identity within my psyche.The image is rendered in a manner completely cartoonish, surreal, funky, maybe even clown like. The figure is female and childlike (I tell myself she is 6) and has a rather distant, droll, dreamy look. An enigmatic slightly upturned but closed smile to the mouth means this little girl likes to observe silently. She is an introvert, feeling more comfortable looking within than being engaged in the outside world.The markings on the face suggest tattoos or wrinkles, which are marks of status, initiation, age and longevity.The coned hat suggests "dunce" or perhaps "witch" but to me implies a way of thinking that is unconventional, a bit crazy perhaps. A dunce or a witch is an outsider in society. Love the frizzy wedge of red hair, that is exactly the hair I wish I was born with! It reminds of the red dyed dreadlocks I grew for 10 years, between the ages of 35-45.The little figure seems to be posing a curtsey, I read that as presenting myself to the viewer as "here I am ". The outfit of pleated tutu, stripey socks and pointy fairy slippers with bells on is an ensemble of whimsy and silliness.That appeals because I love wearing clothes that I feel subvert the stereotype of my age and social class too....

I am a figurative artist because I'm intrigued and endlessly fascinated by the visual signifiers we adopt to display to the world who we are.




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If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at pearl@upstairs-art.com.au