Painting Therapy

Getting out some Anger personal work inspired by Painting Performance, acrylic on paper (3xA1)

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After all these painting performance sessions and everything that was going on in my personal life at the moment things were getting really confusing. I felt such relief during each painting performance and a sticky feeling of emptiness and pointlessness after, one day it just got really frustrating and I decided to take the practice out of the university/studio environment, both literally and metaphorically.

I set up some paper in our back garden and even though it had rained during the entire week I didn’t care if the work got smudged. The weather was influential enough to my mental state so it was only fair, if the weather decided to interfere in my process.

Once I started dripping and pouring and splashing the paint on the paper I think I must’ve entered a different mind field since I can only recall bits of it, rather than the entirety of all movements, like usually.

While making it I was concentrating on letting all my anger, frustration and built up negative energy and letting it flow through my hand and into the paint, where it could take shape and come alive on the paper. I was finished much sooner than I thought but I didn’t realize it at the time. Once I was finished tapping into the negative, I continued pouring paint, but this time the direction came from positive feelings, feelings of relief, of completeness, of calmness and relaxation, a sense of fluidity.

In a way in all of this I was also exploring how paint interacts with paint, different colours, different ways of mark making, which I didnt get the chance to explore much on a personal level in the painting performance studio. I could have full control over what happened on the paper, the pacing of the ‘performance’, its length, and the final outcome would be completely personal. It felt different not being in a group but exploring the same topics, you become more critical of yourself because you’re not sure of what people’s reactions would be if they saw it. When you’re surrounded by a big group of people, all excited about chucking paint around, it’s really hard to put much meaning into the art-making – you’re too busy having fun with your friends to give it too much thought. I found myself standing absolutely still in front of the blank paper, looking down at it. What was I doing? When do I start? Is everything prepared? Is everyone ready? It was just a split second’s thought. I was completely alone, there was no one to influence or control my movement or to block my flow in any way. I had the wind blowing in the trees as inspirational music and the cold as an atmosphere. I was in the exact environment which was the source of all the emotions I wanted to express onto the paper.

I didn’t want to film it. It just felt wrong, in the sense that it would break the intimacy of the painting and the process of making it. It was more about the personal experience, what I was feeling and doing, my solitude, the absence of any living being – just me and my surrounding environment. I find interesting the fact that I left the paintings outside to kind of set before I moved them inside to dry fully, expecting some rain overnight and being interested in the outcome but that night the sky had completely cleared of all clouds and I saw my paintings in the light of the moon and stars and it seemed like a sign from the universe and it made me happy. The next two days the weather was completely clear. Third one’s the charm, every time, I moved my paintings inside and it rained that same afternoon.

When I later had another look at the artwork I loved how the patternd were made out of smaller patterns of paint droplets and splashes. The details of the painting seem to contain small galaxies within the marks, as well as passages from one form in one scale to a different form in different dimentions. It perfectly reflects on my frustration with the ammounts of incredibly interesting information that I’ve been trying to process over the past few weeks and having so much to do around the house (purely on basic survival level) which leaves me with far less time for information assimilation and art theory than I feel comfortable with.

It has definitely helped me free myself from everything that is holding me back and pulling me away from ispiration. I was able to look at my life, my art and my practice, and particularly these three pieces, more objectively. I could see what I was lacking and what I needed to improve on.

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