My work narrates multiple sociocultural bodies through events that encapsulate gender, marginalisation, and class as the foundations for discord and division. I play with the failures of anthropomorphic perception to create experimental abstract films and performances utilising a variety of media such as music, sculptural processes, painting, somatic movement, text, and labels. Utilising the philosophy of entanglement as espoused by Karen Barad, and Donna Haraway’s “The Companion Species Manifesto”, I aim to challenge the oppressive forces of capitalism. I believe that the world can be understood as one body inhabiting a multiplicity of meanings and realities. I draw for inspiration from Carolee Schneemann’s Raw Materials, and Rebecca Horn’s Berlin Exercises. I draw reference to the presences created by Helen Frankenthaler, reclining as she sits in a room surrounded by her paintings, or Jean-Michel Basquiat with his shoes off, sitting in a chair in front of his work with a paintbrush in one hand and the other resting on his chin. My work interrogates these characters we play for other people and ultimately how I as an artist perform for them. I explore the performance of painting, as dance, or as one of many characters for a photograph. The works I have made this year focus on jouissance; beyond the pleasure principle. I think of the Lacanian term of the “Encore” to denote a more excessive kind of pleasure and constant need to transgress the limits imposed on enjoyment and to desire beyond the pleasure principle. My aim is to play. To engage the pleasure principle by experimenting with aspects of touch and intimacy. I explore space and the physicality of touch in performance by caressing and exploring space to create a landscape through nontraditional mark-making. I use oil pastels in-between my fingers and toes or paint on my feet. As I do this I think of Georges Bataille’s writings on the big toe as he says it is the most human part of the body. “...with their feet in mud but their heads more or less in light, men obstinately imagine a tide that will permanently elevate them, never to return, into pure space. Human life entails, in fact, the rage of seeing oneself as a back and forth movement from refuse to the ideal, and from the ideal to refuse -- a rage that is easily directed against an organ as base as the foot.” (Georges Bataille: Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939) Since the shift into Lockdown, I have spent time watching clouds through my windows. I have traced their open spaces as they pass. Attempting to complete the trace as they moved, I came to understand the impossibility of the task; and that my perception of the cloud was estranged and so far from their reality. I expanded my trace to higher ground and used mirrors to experience them from other angles, and still failed in my pursuits, most often before it even moved from my perception. This failure identified three pursuits; personifying the cloud, the use of clouds as my documentation of time, and my attempts to uncover the essence of the clouds. I noticed a need to romanticise these different bodies and phenomena and am reminded that we are not the center of the universe but yet we chose to center it around us in our discourse. “I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think. I am not whenever I am the plaything of my thought; I think of what I am where I do not think to think.” Jacques Lacan. Abby is a post-structuralist multidisciplinary American artist based in London. Before pursuing her Masters in Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins, she previously graduated with a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
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