Houses and identities are often intertwined. A house symbolizes home: a refuge from the world and a safe place where we can be ourselves. When we dream, a house represents the psyche, and its depiction reflects the soundness of our self. But what if the house, that both protects and stands in for the self, is in disarray and nothing makes sense any more?
My mother has Alzheimer’s. Her mind, home to her psyche, is breaking down. Her memory, (including memories I share with her,) and with it, her identity, is becoming lost to her. These intensely autobiographical drawings and collages, made in response to my mother’s memory loss, tell the story of imperfectly remembered events: memories “stored” in family photographs yet still subject to disorganisation and even disintegration.
Starting with photocopied photographs, I cut, collage and draw on paper, card and wood with graphite, paint, and ink. I use repurposed cardboard boxes and magazine images. I erase, trace, and layer. In some pieces, people appear in contrived landscapes, to which they may or may not belong. In others, the people that once occupied the photograph have disappeared altogether, and all that is left are empty profiles. Or a face, repeatedly reproduced as a line drawing, becomes an almost iconic image that has transformed the original portrait.
The work creates an imaginary house for my Mother’s memories. A house in which, in the apparent disarray and confusion, new connections and new stories have emerged to replace the old.