Extension work for layers – In My Sorrow & Bed Abuse

21st May 2020

I am quite attached to making layer images at the moment due to the fact that I am not able to sleep at night as I have welcomed back my insomnia. Rather than laying awake and thinking, I have been producing other artworks on my iPad including some extra layer images.

The contact sheets for this piece of extra work can be found here.

In my Sorrow

On the 14th April 2020, my mum unexpectedly passed away, I had only been talking to her hours before. ‘I am now a solid door, void of emotion, void of everything, I am not budging, I am closed.’

All of the chosen layers were taken before, during and after the funeral. We had to watch it via video link like a good old Blockbuster movie, at one sinful moment I even said to my daughter, ‘I feel like we should be eating popcorn.’

The event was other worldly. We could see my family and my mums best friend and her daughter and the staff who were performing the service as though we were watching from ‘Heaven’ itself. We were placed high up above everyone and they in front of us.

There are three types of portraits here. The first is before the funeral as I started to shake, the second was during the funeral and the third is after, when I literally stripped off, put my PIL beanie on and jumped into bed. I have always wore hats when I have not been coping, they somehow, I am not sure how, ground me.

I was not sure whether to produce the image in natural colours, black and white which would symbolise death more or any other combination of colour. After converting the image by adjusting the saturation, then converting it to black and white I decided that if I was to present it with my verse then perhaps blue would work better as not only can it be composed of a dark blue but it can link with the idea of feeling blue and therefore sorrow.

Below shows an information diagram of the above image, it has been lightened so we can see individual areas easier.

I had written a verse about my sorrow being a safe friend of mine that makes me happy as I am safe with it’s familiarity. I presented this verse with my image they work in partnership with each other.

I had handwritten the verse in my note book as though just casually writing a thought and photographed it imperfectly with the lines appearing to warp into a different direction and I included some light bleaching to the right of the page. This was so that the page and verse looked more realistic than a staged, perfect piece. I also wanted the feeling of memories which become faded and are hidden so I altered the opacity of the image to gain a faint rendition to work with the other adjustments.

Overall I think the composition works well. I have placed the heads, eyes and mouth, high, like we were placed in the ceremony, high looking down on the proceedings.

Then I am positioned on the left looking towards the right where the coffin was sitting in the room although I was watching it on my iMac and taking photographs as it played on my iPad. Is this sinful or disrespectful? I am going with Jo Spence on this -‘Beyond the Family Album,’ (1979) and I will be documenting all parts of my life, more in-depth than I have previously been doing.

The family and friends are present and the celebrant is bowing to my mum out of respect and for me to say that final farewell.

All in all I am very happy with this piece of work. However, I would change the colours of individual head pieces. Although they all have different opacity depending on their compositional needs which I kept returning too and altering according to my eye, it may have served the overall image if I had altered the shade of the blues within each subject piece as well, or perhaps just some of them..

By altering the hues each piece would stand out slightly from the others making them more individual than they are now, now they seem clumped together. Also by celebrating each individual piece within the composition I would be promoting the idea of time. At the moment because they are clumped together, they produce a oneness, a solid area which represents one theme which is grieving. If however they became more individual but work together as a unit, each individual piece which can be identified more easily would represent that specific time whether before, during or after the funeral and the theme could be developed more into a grieving journey.

This has given me much more to think about and already I am wishing I had thought about trialing different hues within the composition to give the whole image more parts and therefore more for the viewer to find, analyse and think about.

23rd May 2020

Abuse comes in many different forms. One of the humiliating forms of abuse that I had to go through happened in bed and it doesn’t matter what he called it, it was still abuse. I was very fortunate not to have been raped, but I had to endure acts for his self gratification which left me feeling dirty, confused, useless and unloved.

The image ‘Bed Abuse’ is bold, it tells the viewer without any hidden messages that I went through something demeaning in the bed. You do not get use to it, you just feel worse after, and even though you know what type of thing might be coming you are scared how much it might escalate each time. But above everything I wanted him to be happy because I wanted to be loved by him because I loved him so much.

However since talking to friends, my counsellor, attending group sessions, appointments and talking with my support worker as well as the many other support services that I have had to work with, I now have come to terms with the hard hitting fact that what I had to do and what he did to me WAS NOT LOVE.

Overall this composition is simple. The cross-app text ‘Bed Abuse’ is the foundation layer on which I placed the cross-app image of me looking scared on top. Then I cut out my face from a black and white image and altered the contrast as far as I could to gain a hard image which I used as the top layer so it was cutting into the large face, therefore connecting the two images.

The text was created by taking a photograph of the darkness around my bed and then adding the text into it. I then altered the settings until I gained the composition that I thought would work the best.

For me the composition is bold and striking. The impact of the black, white and grey creates a cold feeling. The black also represents the power, authority and strength that the ex had over me and is balanced with the negative grey spaces which are my faces. The negative spaces are washed out, weak just like I was.

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