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Available as a LIMITED EDITION Aluminium Art Print
(edition of 3)
Also available as a limited edition Giclée Art Print
Part of a series of self portraits
This piece looks to examine the feelings surrounding the process of ageing.
From birth up until the point of adulthood we are seen to be growing, developing, becoming. Once adulthood begins we are exponentially seen as ageing, decaying, slowly failing, slowly dying. Even if one does not care for the vanity of losing the looks of youth, there is still a feeling of the ageing process being a negative one, as by its very nature the passing of time - and the physical effects of this - are a reminder of our being closer to death.
This portrait shows my face covered, the face being the part most visibly and outwardly affected by the ageing process; the part most targeted by media and medicine as needing to halt or reverse the ageing it ‘suffers’. The gesture of face-in-hands is also recognisable as one of despair, pain, sadness - all emotions we are told to, and do, feel about seeing ourselves age. By having my face covered it also hides my age, allowing viewers of all ages to more easily relate to the subject.
The legs are crossed over the vulva, simultaneously suggesting the chastity of youth and the loss of fertility as a woman ages. The body’s position, though, is also reminiscent of that taken by women after sex to increase the chances of fertilisation/conception, allowing the full spectrum of a woman’s sexual life to be represented.
The circular repetition of the figure is set out to represent a clock. This is a clear symbol of the passing of time. But by not showing any obvious difference between each of the figures, we are shown how this fear of ageing is not one experienced by onlookers, but is purely within our own minds. We do not see those around us ageing. We do not feel fear or disgust at the entirely natural process others are experiencing. But within our own selves we feel the panic, the relentless passing of time, the inevitable end.
The overall form of the figures not only represents a clock, but also a flower. This brings to mind something whose beauty, decay, and death we see frequently. We buy cut flowers knowing they will fade and die within days, but still we want to celebrate their glory while we can. We suffer this decay as the pleasure outweighs the pain; much like life, although it is harder to enjoy the bloom and remember the beauty when we focus on the inevitable demise.
The form also mimics an eye, or a camera lens, pointed directly at the viewer, examining them - like the media examine, expose, dissect the appearance of women, criticising them for ageing as if there is an alternative they choose not to take. This eye also mimics how we stare at and examine our own faces, our own bodies, as if by catching the moment the cracks appear on our skin might somehow allow us to control them, reverse them. Is this lens pointed at the viewer challenging them to consider their own decay, their own death? Or to ask questions about why they fear ageing at all?
The piece ends with a reminder that this cyclical process of life and death will continue. To age is inevitable. And, if anything, ageing is evidence of the gift of living, and should be celebrated rather than feared.