“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow under houses and trace and stones, and shadows at the back of people’s eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
When I first arrived in Valencia I was immediately struck by how the sun made such strong, dancing shadows in the streets. For a while now I have been interested in the way my work naturally creates shadows and I thought this would be a good time to develop this interest further.
My practice explores memories and the traces of past we find in the present. I strive to find the marks a departed life leaves on the world when it returns to atoms and energy.
A shadow is essentially a trace created by a person, a negative outline of a positive object. In psychological terms “the shadow” is often a term for the negative aspect of the soul, the part we hide or are unaware of. Jung wrote “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”.
A departed soul always leaves a shadow on the heart. A shadow like this is not negative, it is a way of remembering and accepting.
These explorations of shadow then lead me to consider touch- another, perhaps more concrete, example of trace. Our bodies always remember the feel of hand on hand or limbs entwined. Contact is a memory our bodies hold long after the mind has forgotten. It holds onto the meaning imparted and stores it softly as a trace of souls that pass.
The work made whilst on this residency is not a finished article but rather a work in progress. I have spent my time in Valencia going back to basics and trying to discover where I really want to be as an artist. This is very much the beginning.
This experience has been a fruitful and highly positive one for me. Thank you so much Ju Underwood, Lisa Gingles and Ima Pico for this opportunity and great help throughout.