In these images the impulse is to challenge, resist and subvert the cultural norms of female experience. I often work with appropriation: I’m interested in how the images seem to ‘choose me’. Old photographs often reveal ‘unsophisticated’ hand-rendered re-touching, over exposure and poor focus, which I play up in the drawings as ‘oddities’ of proportion, scale and depth of field.
I really like the grey metallic quality of graphite (sticks, rocks and powder), which for me is inherently nostalgic and relates closely to the old photographs I work with. The linen paper is reclaimed old stock from a printers, it is often stained and distressed, which gives me a surface with some integrity to work with. Carbon copy paper gives a soft line that is vulnerable to the light. These drawings have to stay in the plan chest and rarely see the light of day…
The ‘Dressing Room’ series bring to mind the passage in TS Elliot’s poem The Wasteland, from the same era as the original photographs:
‘…In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered or liquid – troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours…’
Wall drawings made on residency at The Old Waterworks gallery ‘What the Doll Saw’