A text about the exhibition "Beginning with the End of the Tale" , The Lab, Dublin, 2009.
The main body of my recent work is an investigation into the nature of death. Everything has its’ time, after death all that remains is documentation or the memory of the person, the place or object. This new series of works deals with the idea of the end as the beginning, giving a new lineage to the images and objects that are created, where the past stops a new story begins.
Pencil and paper is for me a pure and poetic way to approach new matters, allowing me to get close to the subjects that I am working with. Drawing is at the core of my practice and each drawing becomes a finished piece not just a sketch for bigger ideas, which is not to say that they do not get developed into objects. All my work is seen as a form of drawing, from sculptures to works on walls
The work in taxidermy allow me to bring back once dead animals to life by placing them in a new light, giving them a new tale to tell in their sculptural form. Behind every sculptural piece there is a personal history, they are things I have grown up with, cared for and lived with. Taxidermy is primarily the act of mounting or reproducing dead animals for display or for other sources of study, allowing the viewer to see something that they wouldn’t usually see. These new sculptural pieces are combined with references from culture, high and low; similar to the way I remix images form art history with other elements in my earlier work. Dead things intrigue me, not the act of death but the object before and after the fact. There is an inherent beauty contained in something so sad and dark in death and an energy and awareness in the moments before or of escape. I wish to capture the essence of this beauty in my work.
The process of making the work is as important as the work itself, I engage with a subject to a point where I lose myself in the making. Engaging with the materials that I choose to work with or that choose to work with me. The cat that was sick, the mice that the cat caught, simply things like that allow me to develop and create further tales for these new materials that were once something different in my life.
Even if the imagery can have dark elements I hope the beauty in them is more evident. The materials and techniques are very intrinsic to the creation of the works. Using these materials allow the work I create to become all that they can be, hopefully beautiful objects in there own rights. As I get further away from home (Norway) I can see things about the country I grew up in more clearly and the Scandinavian sense of humour seeps into my work. Some pieces aim to make you smile at first but there is a twist in the tail before the ‘truth’ is revealed. In John Hutchinson’s book ‘The Bridge’ (2008) he describes beauty as
“(It is) deeper, clearer, and more substantial. Beauty is normally only revelled by an attitude of detachment and affectionate attention. It is not inherent in an object, nor is it projected. Beauty lies in oneness, shared by the maker, the object, and the viewer.”p8