My practice is a study of the body, the fleshy substance that defines and describes us. Working in paint, sculpture and digital media I examine the relationship between the body, the consumer society and identity, both the inner world of feeling and self-belief, and how we construct and project a sense of self into social spaces, both real and virtual. Collaging flesh with industrial objects and household items, I create somewhat disturbing, yet humorous images, which query the abject. Mapping the zone of transition between ‘Self’ and ‘Other’, my work looks for a locus of amalgamation, wherein the object becomes the individual & vice-versa, asking to what extent we define our identity through external objects rather than personality. My work seeks to expose as hollow the claim of politicians and advertising executives, that increased consumer-choice equates to increased freedom, and that by acquiring material possessions we achieve happiness.
My work is a visual representation of the consumer society, with its slavish dedication to vacuous pleasure, its temporary and disposable nature, wherein everything is a commodity, fit only in respect of its relationship to the market; to be raised, depressed or discarded accordingly. The flesh commodified, my work mediates the effects of market forces on the human body. The cyclical flow in which we consume the products of capitalism, [fast food, fashion and electronic status symbols], in order to give physical definition to our self-image, whilst at the same time, we are inevitably consumed by these self-same economic forces, the currents and tides of the globalized market economy. This dark symbiosis affects the body through social diseases like addiction, obesity, depression and stress, which are in turn ameliorated by a market based medical system controlled by the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, which does not promote "health", since this is not commodifiable, but rather seeks to manage symptoms by vending an endless parade of often harmful chemicals masquerading as remedies. In my work, I visualise this through the distortion and compression I apply to the body, resulting in grotesquely misshapen, even unrecognisable forms, which in an act of cannibalism, are both producer and consumer of their own selves, [hence my choice of industrial motifs, illustrating the cyclical transformation from raw material to finished goods].
Using time-based media, these dystopian creations; half-man, half-machine gain animation, with humourous yet somewhat disturbing results, which enters the realm of the uncanny. In the age of keyhole surgery, microchip implants, and body modification, my practice is a contemporary reflection of these issues, demanding that we examine body politics, in order to expose how social acceptance is foremost defined by our outward bodily form, and in turn, how we strive to enhance or counter this pervasive influence through our consumer choices, only to find ourselves commodified in turn. With more and more of our lives lived online the boundary between the corporeal, and the world around us are becoming increasingly blurred. How often do we hear, ‘I couldn’t live without my iPhone’, or learn of assumed identities being used on the web? Does our technology grant us an extension of our presence and personality; or rather does it hollow out the individual, as if by our incessant urge to possess, we turn inward and diminish ourselves. Could it not be that our laptops and mobiles are the beads and mirrors of contemporary society: eye-catching trinkets, which in order to possess we part with much more than their actual value, and may unwittingly sell ourselves into financial bondage for?