As a female artist (and yes, I believe, in this exhibition, it does make a difference) I seek to find a truth in my art practice, to tell a story – the private view – and to create a work that will resonate with the audience – the public view. Work that will provide solace and support; that will provoke questions and may be even provide a few answers; to create talismans that aid and protect; sooth and succour.
In the role of artist-maker-storyteller, the performance is part of the whole. I don my costume and step out into the spotlight. Everything tells a story, everything. The clothes we wear, the way we cut our hair, the shade of lipstick, the colours of our jewels; we like to think it makes no difference, as artist we are apart and somewhat separate, but it does, it tells the story of who we want to be in the moment of our command performance, as we step out into the spotlight for that brief second or two.
Usually, whilst working and creating I dress most practically – cotton dungarees and an old t-shirt; bare feet or birkenstocks – unless I forget and decide to just tweak a few threads whilst wearing black woollen trousers, which are now covered in Romney felted wool, the individual threads clinging with resolute stubbornness despite my best efforts to remove them. The trousers, I fear, will never be the same again.
So, no matter my ‘otherself’, whether wife, mother, lover, tutor, friend, sister, daughter; it is perhaps the public role of artist that I find the hardest to dress for. We say perhaps it doesn’t matter, but it does; we say perhaps they won’t be looking at us, but they will; Maybe not at my clothes or the way I style my hair or the way my lipstick matches (or maybe clashes) with the ‘look’ but at my art, my inner story, my private view, exhibited, visible for all to see.