Hard to Swallow

Date: November 22, 2014 Category: ,


I have been drawing directly on to spoons, shoes, gloves and other items to investigate the transformative potential of drawing, to create poetic and alluring art objects. These can have the resonance of personal relics or talismans for me.

I often use drawing as way of ‘coming to terms with the past’. These drawings on old spoons depict ‘film noir anti-heroines’ they are a direct response to my time teaching art in a women’s prison. I experienced first hand the extent of the injustices metered out to women in the legal system: it is said that women are punished first for their gender and second for their crime.

Here, the spoon symbolises nurture/maternal gratification but the subject may be ‘Hard to Swallow’.

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Beguiling drawings (part woman, part doll) on white satin bridal shoes and on soft suede ‘nude’ gloves. These symbolic objects of the feminine question the ‘happy ever after’ sold to the girl in traditional fairy tales.


I am fascinated in the German ‘Romantic Grotesque’ with its tradition for dolls puppets as human substitutes in the literary imagination. I consider drawing to be inherently ‘uncanny’ – how, through drawing, the lifeless can be made ‘live’: a drawing is perceived to behighly charged through its potential for psychic integration. My drawings of the singular dislocated figure can be seen as a metaphor for the the alienation and control of Modernity…my subject is the doll, idol (i-doll), figure, mannequin. These objects can be experienced as powerfully female and are believed to have originally functioned as objects of worship: within my contemporary context they may yet still function as secular idols.

Drawings of the ‘measured’ and anatomical female form and its development on a canteen of fish knives and forks. Notions of self-image and distorted relationships to eating made explicit.

Tiny drawings of pre-Christian female relics, thought to be ‘fertility’ figures, on a set of commemorative Royal souvenir tea spoons.

Drawing of a ‘doll-woman’ on the sole of a sequinned dancing shoe, seen distorted through its display case. This figure can be perceived as being both trapped beneath the shoe and inside the transparent case. This piece makes reference to the iconography of a number of the ‘blockbuster’ fairy tales girls consume: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the Red Shoes – all of which present codified instructions on the moral bounds of female behaviours.