OBSESSION : Love, Ritual, Collection

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Introduction: As a curator I am searching for a truth, a personal truth hidden within all of us. A glimpse of these truths are accessible like little flickers of light, delicate memories that recall something we can’t quite reach and mutual understandings through the works on display in OBSESSION: Love, Ritual, Collection. OBSESSION: Love, Ritual, Collection is the second instalment of a three part project that started in 2011 with a confession... Part one CONFESSIONS (Exhibited at Rich Mix in 2012) ‘On a Wednesday afternoon in broad daylight, my house was burgled. When I returned from work I didn't realise at first but then it dawned on me my laptop was gone containing all my pictures and films from pretty much the past five years, none of it was backed up. By Thursday I had started to come to terms with the fact someone had been in the house, I began to mourn the loss of those images and films. But was grateful no-one had been hurt. The police came round to take finger prints. They dusted the entire kitchen, my four year old watched on in intrigue as they covered surfaces with a light grey powder. They found nothing but a faint footprint on the window ledge leading them to believe they climbed in through the minuet kitchen window, there was no evidence of a forced entry. They took details and said they'd be in touch. On Friday morning, Friday the 13th at around 6am there was a panicked knock at my front door, I opened the door and in front of me stood a boy, he must have been only 14/15. He was obviously distressed and I

thought maybe there had been a road accident, I asked him what was wrong, if everything was OK? He looked at me with tears streaming down his face and said... I've got a confession to make about the burglary on your house on Wednesday. Yes, I said He held out his arm, and handed me a carrier bag containing my laptop. He explained that we was in trouble, had fallen in with the wrong crowd. But the night before he had gone to mosque with his friend, he told his friend what he had done and his friend quite wisely explained that people worked very hard for their possessions, you can't just take something that does not belong to you, and so he realised he had to return the goods. Not knowing who would open that door, he braved it and knocked. Maybe its because I'm a mother but I felt compelled to hug him and tell him no matter how bad he thought things were, they will get better. Right there in that moment on my doorstep hugging a crying stranger, clutching a carrier bag with my digital memories at 6am, CONFESSIONS was born. In 2014, I now present part 2 OBSESSION: Love, Ritual, Collection Is a collection of over 50 international artists who have responded to the words in the title of the show and their work deals with hidden worlds, private collections and obsessional behaviours. Each artist has been carefully considered and make up a bigger narrative that threads all the works together. Carrying the audience through a visual and audio guide to the darker, more private parts of the artists minds. Charlotte Meddings

The Curator - Charlotte Meddings Creative Editor - Victoria Coster Cover Design - Charlotte Meddings/Nicolas Laborie Catalogue Design - Victoria Coster/Charlotte meddings copyright 2014 Charlotte Meddings The Curator




ALMA BAKIAJ: www.alma-bakiaj.com

My art consists of assembled vague images, which provide the confidence that the viewer knows what he sees, but he is apparently deceiving. The seemingly simple shapes seem to be familiar but they hide much more information than they originally believed by the viewer. This is the aesthetic game that interests me. The pieces are not specified in space and time, they do not provide any such information. In contrast the concepts of indoor and outdoor are refuted. The images are reduced rather more at the subconscious and the dreamlike space. Flat surfaces define the space. One has the impression that the viewer is watching a scene with half-closed eyes, as a condition just before bedtime. These images are mainly paintings (oil on canvas), but I also work on Video Art and Photography. They come from one only obsession: the tendency of hiding information, It is not an intentionally act, rather than a need to discover new spaces, to introduce myself and the viewer to a mutated world where the real and the unreal meet. To create ‘uncertain images’ that make the brain to activate different parts in order to be able to interpret the image, to fill its meaning or to create more questions. Because for me Art should create questions, mind gaps, and not be a decorative object or a ready dish to be served. The way each artist manage to create those gaps, is the characteristic that identifies his artistic identity. 8

ANNA KOLOSOVA: www.annakolosova.com

I am evolving from the concept of the Combine once introduced by Robert Rauschenberg, I use myself as a readymade in my series of Live Combines, where I attach myself to my own paintings physically. My work features my own personal experiences and feelings. I use a lot of colour in most of my works due to my synesthesia and the way I see my experiences of letters, numbers etc -- in colour. I am very present in my work, both physically and mentally. One of my obsessions is portraying the sense of ecstasy by exposing the clash of high and low cultures, which I construct within my work. I use humble materials for it, such as wood, paper, cheap paint and found scraps of things, combining them with glamorous items, such as golden chains, fabrics, ready-made objects, myself... It is important to know that aesthetics is everything for me, and so is the sense of space around the work I construct.


ANJA VON KALINOWSKI: www.anjavonkalinowski.com

My new series of work focuses on my encounter with a 19th century psychiatric photograph of an anonymous woman and how I displace the double dimension of this image - as an object of power and as an affective object – into a translation of obsessively worked objects of art. Science and religion, as languages of power, stand as references for the iconography of psychiatric photography and the devotional art of the Baroque period with its elaborate ornamentation and ability to create emotional proximity with the viewer of my work. The title The Unseen describes my perception of the photograph and the intensity of psychiatric research at the time it was taken as well as devotional and dramatic connotations that all unite in their obsessive qualities. The main thread running through my work is the notion of an intense communication. It can be found in every aspect of my work and is visually expressed in my choice of material and technique. Science and religion determine my field of action. Their specific languages are displaced by my translation into small-scale objects using the techniques of embroidery and painting. Thus I am creating a relationship as well as a paradox between the languages of power and art. The obsessive nature of my work results in the final setting of an archive in order to enhance a sense of preservation and intimacy. Photography can provide a powerful metaphor in its ability to evoke a double moment of historical awareness, of being both in the present and in the past. The aesthetic experience of religious icons stands as a metaphor for the concept of my work. The presentation of power that issues from the photograph due to the confinement of the protagonist in a mental asylum and the obsessive nature of medical research gain more importance for me than the mere representation of the unknown woman in the photograph. 10

ARABELLA PIO: www.arabellapio.it

Semantic Dementia (SD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of semantic memory (the ability to remember the meaning of words, faces and objects) in both the verbal and non-verbal domains which results from a shrinkage of the temporal lobes of the brain. The initial problem is often with words. Sufferers may have difficulty remembering the names for things and may use words incorrectly. Self Induced Semantic Dementia (2013) represented my reflection on the semantic and ontological value of some expressions typically employed in the romantic discourse, such as ‘for ever‘, ‘always‘ or ‘only you‘ which are by their very nature illusions although we believe in what we say when we pronounce them. Therefore an expression like “for ever” becomes, semantically speaking, very close to “never”. I analysed this unconscious phenomenon of attributing some words a false meaning and the temporal inability to interpret reality or use words correctly. In the attempt to realign the words with their ontological value I recorded myself reading a love letter I once received. Every time I came across the words ‘for ever’, ’always’, ‘never’, ’only you’ I repeated them again and again until the word were reduced to a mere and meaningless sound. The word’s meaning is lost and turned into a rhythmic litany that symbolizes the vacuity of the word itself.


ASTRID JAHNS: www.astridjahns.de

The Seven Deadly Sins give us an interesting insight into our emotions. They are like a mirror which confront us with our negative qualities and they are (more or less) hiding deep inside of us and would prefer to remain there. But from time to time there are situations where they burst out and we cannot control these negative emotions anymore. We have ourselves no longer under control because our subconscious mind is controlling us now. Lust and Greed are very extreme obsessive emotions. If one of these sins overcomes us, we have to get or to own something with an such urge need. Thus those we would go extreme and obsessive pathways to get what we want, while we got caught by one of these sins. The visualization of The Seven Deadly Sins are as kind of a symbiosis acting between the human being and the respective deadly sin. The human being is the bearer of one of the seven properties. He or she merges downright with it and transports it to the outside or has to deal with it in the inside. The human being offers many interesting design opportunities. Facial expressions and gestures play an important role and therefore they offer exciting design aspects of the character representation. Obsession is a fascinating topic to deal with because it goes beyond its limits and much further. And that is what The Seven Deadly Sins do, they go beyond all limits because they are such extreme emotions and characteristics thus they also could named as The Seven Obsessions. The collage technique is a combination of different individual paper fragments which resulting a completely new identity and visual language. Facial expressions and gestures are accordingly changeable and put the fragments into a new context. On the basis of the humanization of each deadly sin, everyone can identify with. 12

BARBARA BIANCHI: www.barbarabianchi.net

I am guided by my obsessions when creating an artwork and always surrender to this repeated suggestion hidden

deep in my mind - more or less submissively. This obsessive tendency occurred early during my childhood and was polymorphic, then went astray. Frequencies were variable and could disappear for years. Today, this obsession concentrates and specialises itself on the same subject: the deep ocean. The abyssal world. The Sea Pyre made up of salvaged canvas stretchers, wedges and mixed media illustrates the struggle between the hallucinatory obsession and my mind. It gives to see my foreseeable defeat and metaphoric wreckage. The jellyfishes exposing their external and internal cell layers and whitish gelatinous substance show the sexual characteristic of this obsession. "Je suis qui je hante" (I am who I haunt) writes AndrĂŠ Breton in Nadja. Isn't that what the subject in painting whispers to the artist?


BIMA ENGLES: www.bimaengels.com

As an artist I am trying to express the complex beauty of love and safe guarding, which forms one of the most basic instincts I know. I think love for things, animals, people etc. plays an important role and makes it possible that good things can move on, this is a very difficult topic because love and ruthlessness are very closely related to each other. I can't say why I am so fascinated by this approach, I think it has to do with my love for shadow heroes, who care about the beauty of things but at the same time they have to deal with the rough side of reality.


BLACKEYED JACK: www.talesofblackeyedjack.com

These are the Tales of Black Eyed Jack, everything from anthropomorphism to famous faces with fridges resplendently filled with cephalopodic terror thrown in for good measure. Expect lots of biro and bewildering sights. My work formulates from my ritualistic obsessions with women. These can be women and loved instantly to those who I have seen from afar. I am obsessive when it comes to detail and with a found object such as a biro I create my portraits. The female subjects usually stem from women I have tried chatting up or a woman who I think can give me some sort of companionship. The line ‘I am an artist and I would love for you to sit for a drawing’ has not actually worked yet but has enabled me to draw women I have become obsessed with. The image, ‘World Clique’, for instance portrays two women who I have loved and obsessed over even for a short while, I drew them knowing I could never have them. The second image, ‘Hive’, also shows this creative possessiveness to the extent that a woman who I have only met a handful of times became my subject for a short while. I am not sure where my art will lead me, however the drive to keep capturing those illusive women in my life, fervently burns inside. 15

BLANCHE ELLIS: www.blancheellis.wordpress.com

Despite a brief and interesting sojourn into art education in 2011-2, I am mostly self-taught in conception of my ideas and especially in the languages of my skills base. I am a fairly traditional artist in that I am very keen on draughtsmanship and drawing is central to my practice. The skills of observation and expression, to me, go hand in hand. My primary focus is on figures, the endlessly fascinating site of our physical and mental experience though I have moved to seeing the ‘body’ in much wider scope in recent years; concerning its interaction, and merging with, it’s environment. In my exploration of the body I have examined particular bodies minutely but tend towards simplification of the body almost to a symbol of itself. These symbols I then use as narrative, as a language of their own – a ‘body language’ – and in creating abstractions out of what was once form. With this psychological approach to the body as a symbol I have begun to study also the theme of language. From the standardised lettering to abstract marks and personal codes of notation and expression I find a parallel between words and images, embedding the one within the other, that echoes the parallel between words and melodies. This link between language and image has me, yet again returning to drawing as a strong and exciting method of both expression and narrative where linear understanding gets tangled and so becomes something new. 16

BOB ALDOUS: www.bobaldous.com

The work was about obsessional love and uses the symbolism of the moth that is attracted to the candle light and hence to the source of its own destruction. The theme was used by Shelly and Goethe, indeed the association with love and death is a subject that is referred to throughout literature. The installation "Golden Moth that flies through the flame" is about Love and Loss, with the more optimistic observation that the two are interlinked. In the symbolic treatment of the subject the moth is attracted to its destructive destiny but is made from an immutable substance"Gold" that shares the same symbolic references as "Fire" and the "Sun".


CARL JAYCOCK: www.carljaycock.co.uk

The artwork uses small word and line drawings and mountain photographs. The words and line drawings created by my wife from her ritual countdown games played over two years or so which I collected as a record of her progress while recovering from a brain haemorrhage. The artwork is both an obsession record of her journey and the artwork was my response to our ritual collecting and massive journey which for us both was tough. The mountains being the perfect visual metaphor for her journey and my position as a carer and observing her gruelling journey back to good health. The mountains also act as a mirror of something bigger than ‘ourselves’ and coming to terms with our own fragile humanity. I see the final artwork as a collaborative celebratory piece which celebrates obsession which had a healing process the ritual of collecting her word games and her lovely writing and line drawings which echo cartography map lines of mountains and my connection with her as an artist and making the work to enable me to come to terms with the changes in her also. 18

CAROLINE JAINE: www.carolinejaine.wordpress.com

Obsession with absurd political conspiracy turned into a frenzied collection of newspaper clippings, marked photographs and other paraphernalia relating to public figures with apparently nonsensical connections made between them. A meticulous fascination with the politics of playing cards, portraiture as propaganda, media truths and political death fuelled this rampage, that was eventually exhibited as “The Inquiry” as part of my final show for my Masters in Fine Art. Many onlookers had no idea that this was the work of my alter-ego, Keith. My instinctive behaviour is to reject the obsessive, the fundamental. To err on the side of moderate, reasonable – the holding of strong beliefs somehow viewed as opinionated and distasteful. I scan my own existence for these flaws and reject “collecting” or gathering of any kind. Creating Chroma-Keith allowed me to think in extreme terms, to be radical and well…obsessive in a space where liberal was permitted, but fanatical was frowned upon. Most of Keith’s amazing collection rests in an archive, where someone,possibly an exceptional curator might come along and rediscover it. I think it is time. Who knows you might get swept away and draw some conclusions from his avid research yourself. Keith isn’t someone I have the energy to share with the world on a regular basis – he is very draining and talks very quickly, but I think him and the “truth” could do with another airing. 19

CHERYL PAPASIAN: www.cherylpapasian.com

Cheryl Papasian's sculptures combine synthetic and traditional materials that seek to question the materiality of consumer products and art objects. Her installation, 'Canyon of Truths and Illusions' is overloaded with mass produced objects in gold, silver and platinum; from inexpensive pot scrubbers to gold glazed ceramic 'stones'. This obsessive collection of plastic clutter and golden 'gems' echoes the escalating international production of commodities.


CHRISTIANA KAZAKOU: www.christianakazakou.com

My artistic practice explores the interconnectedness and open-ended dialogue between art and science by combining scientific concepts, laws and theories from different disciplines with arts practice. Using free associations to discover the mirroring of scientific theory and concept between social, formal and physical sciences; including mathematics, architecture, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, astronomy, astrometry, chemistry, genetics and philosophy of time. Both art and science require imagination and original thinking, a sense of inquiry and concern about human nature & society. Whilst science investigates how the world operates in art this information is interpreted and expressed from a unique individual experience. My interests lie in the abstraction, curiosity and those complexities concerning the inter-relationships between science and art that have the ability to influence perceptions that lurk beneath known definitions.


DAVID CASS: www.davidcass.co.uk

Obsessive collection lies at the very heart of my practice. The materials I work with are found, hoarded, gathered, and worked upon repetitively My work is concerned with place (the landscape, or the documentation of landscape) and memory.


FLEUR YEARSLEY; www.fleuryearsley.wix.com/fleur-yearsley

Love is the driving force behind what I achieve. Love for life, love for people and love of the creative process. The subjects I focus on are personal and very meaningful. This is how I inject expression, immediacy and raw emotion into my pieces. The paintings portray intimate moments for all to see. Painting can be perceived as an insular subject but the personal nature of my works breaks these notions. I involve people in the process of the paint application by accentuated brush marks, fingerprints and drips which are all clear whilst being informed by the subject and by the emotive form. My work is honest, with no pretences or thoughts of what painting is, simply what I wish it to be.


GLENN ANDERSON: www.g-anders.co.uk

Places, Adventures, discovery and the five sense ­emotions. These are a few examples on how I receive inspiration for my work. These experiences are caught and manifest themselves in strange and beautiful ways. In and out of obsession, collecting random bits ’n’ bobs from old love letters to piano parts. Dissecting and constructing, regriptapping old skateboards and getting a beautiful sanded edge. Picking spots, and ridding yourself of old love affairs. To keep the mind busy at all times and doing! Typography. Conventional non conventional.. Mixing mediums and experimentation = interesting results or an absolute mess, learning from those journey’s, biro drawings ­aerosol ­ planks of weathered wood and rusted nails and so on. I can’t put my finger on it, if I could then maybe the light would go out. Reaction action Actions reactions, adding and subtracting......Until something appears. Lines shapes and form, why out of millions of woman do you gravitate to a handful? Why are her curves better than hers. Brown hair next to blue eyes, sweet sounding voices. Sound has form i.e. weight. Geometric weight. Surrounded by concrete, sometimes feels like sat in an unpadded cell without straight jackets on. 24

GORDON AND MARY: www.gordonandmary.com

The work we are involved in starts with the basics of humanity; our emotions, of love, desire, belief, and anger. Ideas and images are sketched, drawn and painted using raw materials such as charcoal or paint. This maybe a creative process that runs against a conceptual tide of communication but we believe our creative expression is best conveyed through tactile involvement and through this process our images evolve. The end result isn't preconceived. The idea runs a course through time and metamorphoses in parallel with the image.


HELEN ANSLOW: www.helenanslow.wordpress.com

In the beginning of the 20th century there was a tradition of sailors making keepsakes to send back to their loved ones. Long hours of travelling or convalescence were spent embroidering small detailed items such as sweetheart pincushions with remembrance motifs. Inspired by the story and aesthetic of these pieces I have created my own sweetheart pincushions. Resembling anatomical hearts in both shape and size they represent the stories of individuals, honouring the experience of loving despite the knowledge of the pain that separation will cause. My aim is to avoid saccharin sentimentalism in favour of a poignant representation of the true sentiment.


ILUA HAUCK DA SILVA: www.iluahauckdasilva.com

Veins of Vanity articulates vanity and its' destructive aspects through my own vanity. My torso, which was cast after I had been wearing a tight-laced corset, presents indents and scarring, which are testament to the destructiveness of vanity. Such scarring is only visible because of the distinctive property of faultless transparency inherent to optical glass, which, in this piece, has been polished to perfection on the front, and sandblast on the back in order to preserve minute details of the indenting on the skin. Vanity is directly associated with narcissism, the obsessive and exaggerated love for oneself. My obsession and love for having a small waist leads me to practice tight-lacing in a ritual-like fashion and to collect corsets of different colours and styles. 27

ISABEL CASTRO JUNG: www.isabelcastrojung.foliohd.com/all

My practice is based on multi-layered projects, focusing on performance, sculpture, and video. The main objects that I create for my works are called ‘wearable sculptures’. These pieces are extensions of my own body, quite heavy and often uncomfortable. They act as armour protecting me and connecting me to earth but also being a burden and obstacle. They represent illusions, metaphors of experiences and obsessions. I believe that art is transcendent, a magic ritual, and that performance is a good media in which to practice it. I believe that people need these rituals, that they form part of our daily life, that they are intrinsic to the experience of being. My body is the vehicle to learn and to experience. I often like to share this experiences with an audience. I have projects were I involve the audience to participate in the performance. I believe that a physical experience can contribute to a better understanding of philosophical and intellectual questions. Although we live in a ‘modern’ and highly technological world, we still have a lot of the ‘primitive’ in us; we are animals, as well. I like technology as well as nature and I am interested in exploring this field and the relation between both. I explore the social relationships and the connections between people. I am interested in the relationship between the physical and the virtual. 28

JANE EMBERSON: www.janeemberson.co.uk

The centralised forms of jewel-coloured entities seem to explode onto the canvas inviting the viewer to explore the microcosmic details of her universe. Each entity represents a new world as seen from above or below, and plays host to a myriad of swirling oceans, mountain ranges and stormy skies. Her paintings essentially reflect the drama and pulse of life, celebrating and capturing its vitality and turbulent rhythms in a dynamic and mesmerising way.


JASMINE GAUTHIER: www.jasminegauthier.com

Like much of my practice, I found Mother Dough to fit into the theme of obsession naturally. For years I’ve been consumed by this idea of my own motherhood, despite having no children yet. For nine months I practiced an exploratory ritual of trying to create a child through baking and access something of a pregnancy. Having finished my BA Photography degree in the summer, I am currently focused on continuing my practice as well as accessing opportunities to exhibit my work. I also wrote my BA dissertation on pregnancy and baking in mythology and visual culture alongside creating the photographic work, further immersing me in this world of cells and yeast. I wanted to explore the love I feel for my unborn children; which I found naturally became an obsessive act, rather than a conventionally maternal reaction.


JULIE IMPENS: www.julie-impens.com

Life is the intermediate state between life and death. However the length of existence is a gift with an expiry date on it. Being aware of death and accepting its inevitability is the best way to enjoy the time that is given to us. The universal truth of death has inspired many artists, writers and even film directors and composers. The memento mori is an art form used to remind the viewers of the shortness of their stay amongst the living. What is right is even more valuable. My work is a series of multiple layered paper cut pieces embellished with freshwater pearls which represent, at first glance baroque style patterns and flowers. The verb ‘carpe’ in ‘carpe diem’ means both enjoy and pick. It reflects the brevity of life. The rose is a flower fading quickly and which needs to be picked as soon as it is flowering. This is how it became the cononical metaphor of the brevity of human existence. On closer inspection of the work, the viewer will discover hidden skeletons having sex. Sex is the ultimate celebration of life, while skeletons are the universal representation of death. Life is a cycle. Those whom die give place to the one just born. If we have to live with the Amocles sword over our heads, we better make life a celebration and accept death rather than fear it because nothing will change its inevitability. 31

JULIE YOUNG: www.julie-christianyoung.com

This diptych forms part of a series of paintings entitled ‘’Love Illusions’’ which explores illusions and disillusionment based on a romantic fantasy that is gradually eroded through disappointment and blame. The tensions within the relationship are revealed, the codependency, the hurt and silence and the feelings of betrayal that lie beneath the surface. This couple are muted or blinded by their rage and frustration and the defences they have erected against each other.


JULIO CAMPOS: www.threadportals.biglaunch.net

Thread Portals are intuitive patterns over limitless black, these patterns are weaved in time and space. Each piece has its own inner resonance. Thread Portals are created by cyclical divisions of twelve showing correspondences with the zodiac, months, seasons, hours, minutes...etc. Unperceived dimensions and levels of perception and energy are of particular interest to my work.


KIMBERLEY BEVAN: www.kimberleybevan.yolasite.com

The painting I have submitted to this exhibition is of my little sister ‘Emma’, we all seem to have strange relationships with our siblings especially as an older sister. The power of love can be both a blessing and a curse these relationships are a continuously evolving narrative where you are pushed into directions you could never imagined. Someone once told me that you start life as a ruff stone and that live smooth down the corners slowly turning you into a pebble, as I get older I understand this more and more and see that change is the effect of love not by others but from you to others. The painting of Emma captures a moment when she came towards me one afternoon, slumping over the end of the sofa initially appearing not to need anything only for her to start to pout in anticipation of asking something from me and manipulating me into doing something for her. This exhibition sounds like metaphor for such life lessons and I would be very keen to contribute to such an unusual and personal show



Katherine ‘s work explores obsessions with the female frame. The artist is also known by the name of Sphinx. The work of Sphinx is created entirely by small paint dots on canvas. The artist is inspired by the works of Salvador Dali and loves modern surreal work.



"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." ― - Arthur C. Clarke

'Comfort Measured' This piece represents a term at boarding school. The cotton wool mangled by unease, a ritual that brings comfort, housed in a fragile cracked glass jar.


LEONARD SEXTON: www.leonardsexton.com

I indirectly manipulated most of my work to direct the gaze towards the qualities love, ritual and collection. I try to avoid stereotypical ideas of research. My paintings often, like me run around, headless! directionless, unsure of their role, or place. Searching for the bravery to embrace all life, all thought. When no answer arrives they try to connect by any means. I search for this sway of energy, which grows within a painting like a living thing, then listen and focus its emphasis. I Research by memory symbols, used as emotional markers, to help me retain direction,while holding on to a logical progression. Moments of personal experience have a direct feed into the projects development. Bodies become indistinguishable, they quickly band together to brace the weight and find a purpose again.


LORRAINE CLARKE: www.clarke-art.co.uk

“My work, taking multiple forms from large installations to small finely crafted collections, incorporating found and made objects, animation and sound, is infused with research into ancient rites and traditions, belief systems, religion, anthropology, aspects of the medical world and the human condition. Through my creative process, transforming materials - often regarded as detritus, into objects of contemplation, new and strange, yet somehow familiar, I challenge the viewer to reflect upon what it is to be human”. I am an obsessional creator of curios and collector of wonders and naturalia. My studio is the Wunderkammer where the line between the real and invented blur. Almost all of my work fits the exhibition theme owing to my enduring fascination with, and research into the “human condition”.


MARIE-LOUISE JONES: www.marielouisejones.com

Marie-Louise’s obsession with hair as a highly symbolic medium continues with ‘Uncumber’. Her human hair works are an on-going body of work using hair to explore the manifestation of female identity and sexuality. The erotic appeal of women’s hair is a fascinating and at times fatal thread that runs through mythology and history, poetry and prose. Almost everywhere in the world women’s hair has been an object of sexual attraction. It is seen as both a symbol of virginity and promiscuity, and by re-appropriating this symbolic material the human hair works explore the difficulties experienced by young women entering a sexual life in a social context where the pattern of sinful woman is Eve who had carnal knowledge and was fatal to humanity, and the pattern of goodness is Mary, the virgin. Hair is also symbolic of life and of loss, it has been used the world over in rituals of fertility and of mourning. It possesses the power of the uncanny, neither dead nor alive. It is attractive and beautiful when on a woman’s head, but once cut from the body it repulses and disgusts. Equally it can repulse and disgust when left to grow on any area of the body other than the head. All of this natural body hair that is systematically removed acts as an unwelcome and socially unacceptable reminder of an animal base nature, a base nature driven by instinctive urges to feed desires, to conquer, to have sex, urges that society deems ‘un-feminine’. 39

MATHILDE POREE: www.mathildeporee.fr

Walk, look at, wander, pick up, collect, collect everything and spit everything. It’s outside that I find my subjects, in a garden, in the woods. It’s often on the ground in front of my feet or next to them that I find the vanishing things. So I pick up those things to be able to make drawings, to invent new narratives and stories. Drawn, photographed, sculpted, filmed, imagined, everything has to be transcribed. This accumulation exercise is a ritual to interrogate the affective value of the elements and the fact that we want to posses everything. But also to show the insignificant things and the little or big disappearances. To appease this need for immortality. And then the elements collected feed into the composition.


NATASHA RUSSELL: www.natasharussell.tumblr.com

I collage together these snippets of thought and record that are embedded in the space through drawing; choosing marks to move along the thin line between representation and pattern or abstraction. Often I process these through printmaking, playing with its weightless, repetitive and experimental qualities that allow me to explore the relationship between the image and the space that it sits in. I hope to create enclosed worlds in single images, each being a dream like pocket that engulfs the viewer into a vignette of strange characters, rules and narratives. Underpinning this work is a fascination with the idea that processes of memory and imagination are a kind of mental collage that collapse and warp together the known and photographable, binding it into something vivid yet vague, both mundane and fantastical. This leads me to think about the purpose of imagining and the inaccuracy of memory, as well as the natural tendency to form narrative as a way to order life.


NICOLAS LABORIE: www.nicolaslaborie.com

LILLITH`S SPELLS Wet Plate Collodion photography series inspired by the legend of Lilith : The first woman on earth. A Sumerian/Babylonian and Hebrew goddess, Adam’s twin sister and his first wife.Like Adam, Lilith was created from dust and therefore equal in her eyes; but their creator the Lord of Light wanted her to be Adam’s submissive companion. Lilith always believed she was in full control of her own sexuality and mind. full of anger and decided to cast spells on men. Some traditions see her as the snake that later on tempted Eve with the cursed apple. The myth represents her as a temptress creature standing for her equality that became her obsession and she does resurface in the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran Cave.Her obsession and birth ritual, both had a deep connection with my photographic practice: Wet plate collodion. Invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851, the Wet plate method is a process using panes of glass, coated with a highly toxic chemical solution, as the negative. Wet plate collodion is a demanding, expensive and lengthy unique historic process, which can also produce a positive image yb using tin or aluminum instead of glass.Like Lilith’s spells, each wet plate was born from highly toxic chemicals; each portrait leaves a trace of their own myth, pain, obsession and desires. Each plate is varnished with Lavender oil, one of the wild flowers also found in the Garden of Eden. 42

ORLANDA BROOM: www.orlandabroomartist.com

My paintings could fit into both categories of ‘obsession’ and ‘Love’, there is an obvious connection in the celebratory feel and love of the subject matter. I try to temper my paintings with an undercurrent of something less euphoric and there are often layered, murky areas or vaguely ominous shapes - which reflect the darker elements connected with love and obsession. The paintings I make are lush and colourful... my landscapes exist as part of a fantastical, re-imagined place and as an amalgamation of references to the history of landscape painting. I have applied a hyper, rose-tinted view of the world to my landscapes, in an ecstatic culmination of references. My vision is of a place and time untouched. It is wild, rampant and ripe to the point of rotten. The surface joyousness is tempered by an uneasy sense of abandonment. These paintings are themselves fetishized; the layered resin has an extreme high gloss finish, akin to stained glass and similarly my paintings are abundant with light-giving colour. 43

PENELOPE VLASSOPOULOU: www.vlassopoulou.com

As an artist my work concentrates on what underlies and makes up the core of an entity or idea. One form that keeps recurring in my vocabulary is that of the calendar, the ancient ritual used to mark the passage of time creating repetitive weekly, monthly and yearly cycles. In my practice these cycles are used to evoke the ideas of continuity, concreteness and construction. The concept of the exhibition immediately attracted my interest based on its affiliation with the practice of the ritual, which is so strongly reflected in my work. 36 blue moons proposes a visual interpretation of the human life. A blue moon is the 13th year, occurring once every two or three years. 36 is the number of blue moons expected to fall within an average human lifespan. The work can also be read as a self portrait, 36 being my age at present.


PATRICIA GERALDES: www.patricia-geraldes.blogspot.co.uk

A mountain of drawings! In my work I collect memories, stories and hours. I believe that if I draw every day, many days from now I will be able to create one image that represents not only my memory, but a kind of collective memories. That’s my ongoing concern. Drawing obsessively and anxiously looking for new images. When I finished my studies in fine arts I learned that the kind of knowledge that interests me is the one that implies communication between different cultures. And it was from this traveller condition that I started my diary collections, diaries that now I consider to be the basis of my entire body of work My intention is tell stories of time and memory through the language of drawing the waiting time is also the time in which we revisit memories. And is by that time that I start to develop drafts, which then I turn into large drawings and installations. Recovering scribbles from my childhood and creating an amalgam with the forms I find in Nature. Drawing can be through the black line that comes out of my pen, but also through the wires that say words from my mouth, describing mountains and landscapes.



What does art mean to me if its performance does not transform me? Paul Valery ''To whom it may concern'' is a work of ''if'' and ''what'', that makes an honest effort to at least formulate the attempt of making an art piece a personal gift to the world. In this ''letter to the worl'' I put in words as clearly as I was able to the trying and failing. This performance is supposed to be a humble gesture, nevertheless I wish for this letter to find its way in every ear and mouth and under each skin.


PAULINA MAUCHER: www.malverncollege.org.uk/TheArts/Art/Art-Galleries/IB-Assessments-2013/Paulina-Maucher

The series of paintings, which I have come up with this year, are based upon narcissism. When I discovered Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, I was mesmerized instantly and decided to explore further into them, and to express an essence of them. By painting mostly with black and white oil paint, I was aiming to express my thoughts and reactions, with my large scale paintings: a statement for the viewer’s perception, to intensify how their narcissistic characters became most prominent in my paintings. By basing my Extended Essay on these lovers, I managed to look further than their superficial exterior. By realizing his manipulative ways, and her self-indulgent actions, I began to criticize them, which further helped me to visualize their imperfections and therefore to understand them and then illustrate them in my paintings. Mapplethorpe and Smith have influenced to the extent that, I have grown in my ability to not only paint, but to conceptualise an idea, and make it my own, which can be seen in the painting of the Matryoshka. My focus encapsulates primarily portraits of either Mapplethorpe, Smith or faces influenced by them. My initial concern with starting a painting was whether I was able to capture the feeling that either Smith or Mapplethorpe were experiencing or were trying to transmit. 47

POUKA MBENG: www.poukart.com

I am an artist painter and sculptor, who believes in the ability of human love and kindness to make our world a free and safe environment for every living creature. As we are coming to the climax of technology and increasing knowledge, the interconnection of people makes our world look small. We are now facing a huge challenge in our planet - the growth in the population, the transformation of our climate, natural catastrophes, the extinction of animals, the insecurity of nations and the increase in poverty due to the wider gap between the rich and poor. All these challenges we are facing in our modern times are the driving force of the creativity in my artwork as I believe everything created has its own purpose, like the earth we live in - there is no other place where humans can share the same breath with animals and plants or drink the same water and many other things. The title of my installation is Manpower which is going back to a certain time when men were the centre of the polygamy family, attention and love; providing for all his wife and children, maintaining the hierarchy through rituals and philosophical practices for the development and protection of his family. 48

PHILL HOPKINS: www.phill-hopkins.co.uk

I am a collector of collections. I collected all kinds of things as a boy; I Spy books, bird’s eggs, car number plates, Action Men, and many more things. As an adult I continue to collect; West German ceramics, Romanian jugs, Italian ceramics, 1950/60’s coffee and tea pots and so on... I mourn the loss of my childhood collections, either given away or sold. My work reflects my collecting. I use a limited number of motifs in my work, for example, a simple house shape and that of an aeroplane. I tend to make work in series or ‘variations’, again referring to collecting. Of late my work has been predominantly drawing based.


REBECCA BYRNE: www.rebeccabyrne.com

The overarching concerns in my practice explore a space between personal narrative and the uncanny, using physical interiors as a reflection of psychological interiority. I examine these ideas primarily in paint, thread and wax; by layering stitched and painted images on top of each other, I endeavour to create an uncertainty. The intentionally ‘wrong’ perspectives create disquieting interiors that cannot actually exist, although they echo with a sense of familiarity. In looking for a new meaning beyond what is represented, I strive to create open works that create a flickering at the edge of the mind. In this flickering I propose to distract the viewer from the obvious elements of a work, allowing new stories to develop. Ultimately, whilst I begin working from my own psychological space, I hope to lead the viewer away from me so unique narratives can develop and the work may have a life in another’s imagination. My practice develops from collection and repetition; I collect images, generally sourced online, and I use the images as a reference point. I employ a routine in my practice that is ritualistic in nature. Each piece from a series is in the same scale, the subject matter reflects the same elements and the work is monochromatic in colour. I find that this repetitive consistency actually allows me freedom within the restriction. Overall, the commitment to my ever-growing collection of photos, and the repetition of subject matter, lends an obsessive quality to my process that is apparent when several pieces are viewed as a whole, but hidden from the viewer when the works are taken individually. 50

ROBYN STEWARD: www.robynsteward.com

To me painting is like breathing my emotions onto the page. I look at the world through multiple frames , as a woman, as a person with a physical disability as a person with Autism, Due to my cerebral palsy cannot manipulate a brush well and find the process frustrating and slow painting with my fingers and hands allows immediacy, I see the world flat and learn about 3D objects through touch, Thus texture has great importance in my work . This piece is about anxiety and love and Freedom/release. The poem below explains the journey of the pieces. As well as being about love which directly fits the brief , anxieties can often create obsessional thought patterns. Fear , anxiety , sadness Fear clenches your middle, like a too tight belt, anxiety chokes you , unimaginable until felt, sadness grips you like a apple carts contents falling from a hill, LOVE can take away pain, for a brief while, as someone holds you, while it melts, until you learn to loosen that belt. 51

ROCOCO WONDERLAND: www.rococowonderland.com

As electrons perform their dance through the noble gas housed in tubes of glass, fears and thoughts collect around their piercing light, lifting you from your dark obsessions. Safer in the knowledge that you are loved. That someone cares. But with love comes fear. The cycle begins again. Love, fear, love, fear.


RORY LINDSAY: www.rorylindsay.co.uk

“Secret Love� (2014)

A childhood obsession with Love Hearts, and a peculiar fascination with their slightly anodyne, saccharine-sweet messages, has manifested itself in this specially-commissioned piece with a hidden message - can you see it? Rory Lindsay is a professional photographer, with a sweet tooth, based from a studio in Chiswick.


ROSIE KAVANAVOCH: www.kmossed.com

Spider Bite Equals Dizzy Head “Opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”-The Kyballion Spider Bite Equals Dizzy Head is Rosie’s first collection of wearable artworks, inspired by the duality and deceptiveness of love. In these images lies a relationship. A sensory, intangible tempest in an indeterminate realm where emotions dictate an unending search for meaning, mystery and miracle. A BYO of the self, spilling over into the other; and the rise, fall and ache that charts its fateful course. ‘Rose-tinted alien eyes peek out from behind twirling candy cane fleur-de-lys; Gossamer spider web plays on the boundaries like a hot-climate snowflake. Lace on a more flesh-coloured hue, it’s the playing card pattern that plays you, The flu¬oro echoes, the lie dyes, and in the middle is the unblinking Third Eye. And in each corner, there’s the decisive stomp of someone putting their foot down.’ The almost Celtic intertwining of limbs and self-contained can-cans scurry around in perpetual motion, and the whole damn thing is like a carnival that’s going right and wrong concurrently, blurring pleasure into pain and back again. These works draw us into the all-consuming nature of love, the shifting relationship between the object and the subject of desire. Like Rorschach butterflies, these evocative images split the nature of obsession into shards of kaleidoscopic beauty. Bringing us closer to what is visible and to seeing, to what is seen and what sees, images that are some part of ourselves while, reciprocally, we are some part of them. 54

SEQUIN KAY: www.sequinkay.co.uk

Maintaining Something Fragile and Negative Complex are a reflection of lessons I have learnt in my life so far, they have been created to teach and guide me from personal experience. By choosing these circular found car hubs as a canvas I am illustrating the cyclical and magical interconnectivity of life, and that there is no separation, we are literally part of everything; objects, thoughts, Mother Nature we are truly intertwined in a web of life. Part of the magic of creating is being able to craft a physical piece of work from the intangible; you’re literally reaching into a void and harnessing creative energy. Abstraction is availability to a subjective free expression of an emotional state or sequence. These pieces burst with the contradiction of disciplined and undisciplined energy, capturing an amorphous feeling. The elaborated Mandala’s carry conscious overtones, reincarnating personal experience into a visible form, communicating emotional upheaval and penetrate deeply into the fundamental aspects of human existence. 55


A main strand of my practice is the accumulation of sets of similar articles. Often I'm moved to collect because of the implied narrative in the objects, and the repetition of that narrative. In 1997 I started collecting pistachios which had failed to open during roasting, and the shells of nuts which had opened so far that the nuts had dropped out. I liked the empowering idea of turning that repeated little event from being a small disappointment into being a little cause for celebration. In 2005 I discovered that mice had found the bag of unopened nuts and eaten them all. I kept the empty, gnawed shells and began collecting again, and used a jar to keep the newly found nuts in. In 2014 I finally came to make an artwork with the nuts and found that the unopened pistachios have been mislaid during my most recent studio move. Life is full of little disappointments, one way or another.


STEFAN NENOV: www.stefannenov.com


THOMAS DOWDESWELL: www.thomasdowdeswell.com

The Dogs of war

'The Dogs of War' borrows vorticist, constructivist and futurist dynamics to create a mechanical and brutal scene of a general ordering his troop into battle there is an underlying influence from German Expressionism which adds an additional edge t the painting.


VICTORIA COSTER: www.talesoftransience.com

The Phillumenist

It started as a fascination, an intrigue, I never saw myself as a Phillumenist, but I couldn't resist, walking India’s dust laden streets, eyes being pulled in this direction and that, greedy for stimulus, taking in every sight, smell and sound ... these little box's standing out amidst the crowds ... kittens, horses, apples, guns, babies, love me ladies with donate eyes ... all shouting out 'how can you walk on by' ... and I couldn't, I didn’t ... at first it was the tiny box's that had been recently discarded, some still had sticks waiting to flicker, others empty of contents but vibrant in colour, or with a message -save-the-trees- or a particular detail ... I would pick them up on roadsides ... outside Temples, in towns, clamber over people to get to them at bus stands ... quickly I realised that the size of the box and the way they were made was region specific ... that's when something else began to take hold, it became obsessive ... I studied them, wondered about them, pondered over the technicalities of construction, the traditions, the industries and times gone by, every new find brought its own strange sense of delight ... that's when I knew it had happened, I had become a Phillumenist, ... it became a reason to wander the streets, to visit new states, to move between cities, other's discarded trash had become my treasure, not deterred by the rubbish, the cows, the tyre tracks or the foot prints, I peeled them of piles, picked gloveless through dirt, excited and enticed by a glimpse of yet another label ... another box ... another one for the collection ... 1300 and ? ...




WILLIAM STEVENSON: www.william-stevenson.com

Obsession, and love, applies to my working practice as well as the objects I create. My work operates along a treacherous, if nevertheless productive edge. Employing subject matter drawn both from the natural world and the extremely artificial, insincere or fake, it rams together a range of distinct forms or categories of representational and physical material, resulting in a practice that is at one and the same time provocative and – once its various interlocking elements are grasped – cohesive and highly suggestive.





People often confuse OCD for pernickety personal quirks of choice or preference, but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is far more serious than people realise. The key is in the name and the word Disorder which is defined ‘a psychological pattern associated with distress or disability’. Most people who choose to have set behaviour, like having their home tidy or certain order for their CD collection do so out of preference and choice which leads to some form of satisfaction, and which is not OCD. By describing such behaviour as OCD is a subtle way of saying "oh, yeah we all do that, no big deal." People affected by OCD find their behaviour (the compulsions) dictated through distress caused by the relentless obsessive thoughts and anxiety, which frequently leads to periods of disablement, rather than some kind of satisfaction.


OCD-UK is unique in being an OCD charity that is completely service-user led, a charity for children and adults with OCD, run by sufferers, for sufferers. We facilitate a safe environment for people affected by OCD to communicate with each other and provide mutual understanding and support. Our objective is to make a positive and meaningful difference in the everyday lives of people affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by providing accessible and effective support services and by campaigning for improved access and quality treatment and care for people with OCD to ensure that every person affected by OCD receives the quality of treatment and care that they deserve.

For further information about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and supportive resources please visit our website: www.ocduk.org



Curated by Charlotte Meddings

In aid of OCD-UK Sponsored by Best Badges www.charlottemeddings.com www.ocduk.org www.bestbadges.co.uk