The Paintings

N.B This post is the first of 3 where I will be talking/explain the origin of a series of works created at the beginning of the year.

Panting 1 “The Authority of Relationships” 

The start to 2022 was quite intense, during the early months of this year I created 3 works that spoke directly from a few stressful events that were happening all around me. I wont give you a full shopping list of items that went into this emotional mess I had found myself in. But basically along side coming out of lock down and resuming  a “normal” life again, I was also working in a hospital system still struggling with the pandemic and project managing renovations on our house. As a result of this I found myself cleaning out and sorting through old art works that and had lay dormant for many years. Once these works were taken out of the box and the mothballs shaken off, I realised they were not finished and even brought up old feelings which I thought had been resolved. Lastly as the final catalyst, I found myself dealing with a close friendship disintegration that had wholly blindsided me.

The first work is the direct result of two events that were completely different but also disturbingly similar. Here you will see a brashly “graffitied” canvas shrouded with a length of hand machine embroidered silk. The fabric is an older work that was completed in 2008, titled the “Gift”. Here I was looking at the pressure of an expectation that someone can hold over you, talking about the weight of performing to someone else’s perception of how your life was “supposed” to be or turn out. On the fabric I used embroidery to retell an event in my life that occurred describing a situation I faced with my mother in relation to myself being over weight, 30, single and not married. 

Underneath the embroidered silk, is a blank canvas splattered with black acrylic paint. This work was created directly after a confrontation I had with a “friend”. The perception of what this person had of me and their hurtful opinions, were veiled in a weak pretence of their concerns for “my health”. Among the long list of other “concerns” this individual had for me, was that she disliked my food choices and proceeded to tell me that I was “going end up obese and die of a heart attack”. This was her perception of were my life was headed, there was really no discussion on how I thought my life was going, it was all her opinions about me being thrown like a heavy medicine ball. Now, I do believe that this individuals intention was to help me, and as strange as it may seem I believe she had “Good intentions”. But all that comes from these “good intentions” is nothing but, disappointment, hurt, shame, loss and sadness, for all parties. 

This is where the 2 works became one. After this recent confrontation, the very next day I found myself pacing in my studio unable to concentrate. I was so angry at the realisation that I have bounced around my whole life moving and changing, trying to fit myself into how others perceive me, and I was over it. I was so angry, I basically ran at the canvas with a loaded paint brush. I scrawled out the words “The Power Of Good Intention”. As I turned away from the canvas still wet with black paint, I saw the embroidered silk folded over my studio chair, and I suddenly realised this needed to stop. So like closing off a parenthesis I draped the fabric over the top of the canvas and paint putting an ending to a very large chapter in my life. With this, I finally understood, the harder you try and adjust to fit into the people around you, the more you stop living your own truth, and nothing good can ever come from this.

You see over the last 2 years I have become confident in my life, more than I have ever been. Like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon, I have found myself comfortable in my parenting style and have a wonderful partner that works with me on this. Also my creativity is blooming along side my wonderful garden, in short my work life balance has become smooth. Maybe I have to thank the COVID lock downs for this growth, as during this isolation I had no one to interfere or insert their opinions on what I “should” be doing, I was able to simply do what felt right, I stopped double guessing myself and relaxed. Now we are out of lock down, and I have carried forth with this momentum.

I see it like this; we all have to walk our own journey, and this path is a solitary one, but it doesn’t mean you are alone. The people and community that surround you, are supposed to support and cheer as you walk, not criticise and belittle you. So with this in mind, we must also remember that on this path, every once in awhile, we need to stop breath, check our shoes, and remove the stones that hurt, then keep on moving, keep on growing. 

Hope everyone is keeping well and safe. Stay tuned for the 2nd painting/instalment it’s a doozy.

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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