OPEN BORDERS 2022
I am a painter; I process emotion and life experience by pushing paint around on a surface.
When my friend was diagnosed with terminal secondary cancer she decided to live life to the full in her remaining months and seek no further treatment (or complicated side-effects). She was able to access the voluntary assisted dying program, recently approved in WA. She asked me, along with 3 other close friends, to be present with her as she transitioned.
I am quite a sensitive, empathetic person and I worried how I would cope. When the time came I realised that often one has reserves available to handle actual situations better than we imagine. It was peaceful and I was honoured to be present as she passed between life and death. The ultimate border. This is where my open border paintings came from.
For some time after this event I struggled to produce work. So I began on a large scale collage, working only with materials that I had on hand. I attempted to turn this piece into an exhibition work but it refused to oblige and I realised that it was just what it was - a process piece. It helped me to play with shapes and colour and to be present to shifting things around. That was the point.
Eventually I began painting directly on canvas, trusting in process. I drew the body in repose and then subtly erased, obscured, layered using personal cues and references (which the titles allude to). Somewhat cathartic, these works freed me.