I made a second copy of ISOLATION because I wanted it to be tactile. I adapted the images lightly, built it up with sand and plaster so the viewer could feel the rough with the smooth, just as life is.
When people see works of art, they either like or dislike it, there never seems to be any middle ground. The decision comes from within, unconscious emotions and feelings associated with memory, triggered by the visual object. The space between it and the viewer is filled with their own history and therefore their own reading. An example of this is shown in the following two stories.
The painting was first shown at an exhibition. Late one afternoon a woman stood for some considerable time in front of ISOLATION. I eventually wandered over to her and as I got closer, I could see tears falling down her face. I asked her if she was alright and if there was anything I could do to help her.
Without looking at me, she said ” You have painted me, you have painted my life”. I did not know what to say, other than ” You must be in a really sad place if I have painted you”. She then turned and said ” I am the mother of a drug addict, my back is against the wall and even though the doors are open and lights are on, no-one, but no-one can help me.”. She then turned and walked away. This young mother’s story was so powerful and really touched me. I often wonder what happened to her and her child..
The second time the work was shown at an exhibition, a small blind boy walked past me with his mother. A moment later he called to me ” Lady, lady, come here. I can feel Jesus”. I got up and walked over to them. He was touching the carved figure outside the church. He laughed and said the walls of the church tickled him. His mother explained that when they go to church he always plays with a figure from the nativity scene and calls it Jesus. The figure is almost identical to the one in the painting.
I get more comments and feed back over this picture, than any other I have painted.
One painting, three stories, one person in tears and another laughing. Such is the emotion of art. It affects us all in different ways.