HEO Artist’s Statements 7 and 8

Written by Claire Dorey

In the next few posts we will look at the individual self portraits and statements from the artists taking part in HEO and the individual ways that the artists interpreted the brief. Artists work is displayed in order that it has been submitted.
HEO, Self Portrait Exhibition on Female Empowerment is curated by Claire Dorey, Selena Steele, and Maria Beddoes. It is the final exhibition in the HEO trilogy of exhibitions, following on from Silence Is Over and ExVoto. It is on View at The Omnibus Theatre Clapham from the 6th – 31st January 2019

Back To Earth Again, by Chrissy Thirlaway, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30cm inc frame, £250. My self is eternal through my effect on those who know me. My body’s eternal as it recycles in the earth, molecule by molecule, into the matter of other life – bacteria, fungus, plants, small creatures, birds, foxes. I am responsible for my eternity.I cannot avoid impacting our planet during my life – both the human and non-human planet. I cannot avoid influencing those I come into contact with and that they are changed for having known me. My behaviour ripples out through time. Did I leave the planet better or worse for having existed? Cremation’s not good for CO2 emissions. Bury me.

“I See You” 2019, by Ky Lewis, Unique Original Silver Gelatine Print 10” x 8” £500, Archival prints available edition 5 AP’s 2 10×8 on A4 with border signed verso £125.

The idea of a self portrait was not something that sat well with me, I tend to be behind the camera I was planning to use numerous traditional techniques to make my self portrait as I normally do very slow photography with pinhole or camera-less solutions and instead for this I chose a hybrid approach using modern and Modernist techniques. Working in the darkroom is normal for me using analogue methods and traditional wet processing. 
I wanted to embrace the art of the ‘selfie’ on the phone but with a twist and to give a generous ‘nod’ back to the women in photography during the early and middle years of the 20th Century. In this way I made my self portraits whilst imagining how complex it would have been for the same actions to be made in the 1930’s, with the lack of recognition and acceptance of their technical skills at the time. I then created my own negatives from these and used them in an enlarger. Playing with forms and light on the surface of Silver gelatine paper, these were cut and pasted in much the same way as they would have been when experimental photographs were made around the 1930’s. I was thinking about the powerful women photographers of the time, such as Lee Miller, Dora Maar, Berenice Abbott and Tina Modotti and responding to the contemplative nature of being in a darkroom.
My story is one of constant change, experimentation and searching with an understanding of the vulnerability of the self and ones place within contemporary visual structures.