In the Shadows of the Institution
Towards the end of 2021 I was approached by Dr. Lucy Series from Cardiff University to provide illustrations for a promotional video supporting her book on the marginalisation of differently abled people through the ages. The project really struck a chord and launched a whole raft of experimental work representing my feelings about the way I have been interacting with institutions and the 21st Century reality that restriction of freedom is still going on. It may not take the form of straight jackets and asylums, but may be imposed more subtly by committee and care.
This is one of a series I painted around this figure. I wanted to convey an irrepressible energy, struggling against the confines it finds itself bound by. This painting was deemed to be so terrifying that the Hive asked me to remove it from my exhibition in Shrewsbury in case it frightened the children. Rather confirming the point that the restrictions we find ourselves subject to are not always the obvious ones.
Another painting that was featured in the video. This one is a female figure unable to find a voice to communicate. Like Jack, she may be in a straightjacket but I chose to make that implicit rather than explicit. Her silence is not of her choosing.
This painting represents the silenced spirit. Sedation is still used in institutions to induce calm. These drugs are known as a "liquid cosh" it's no different really than a physical knock out. Only the bruises don't show.
Jack be Nimble
This figure is a little more explicit than the previous images. The spirit is reduced to a couple of blank eye sockets as if the body has been rendered a mask.
This image represents the objectification of the person under observation.
This image represents the state of being observed.
Release from the Gilded Cage
I came up with the concept of a gilded cage to describe 21st Century conditions. Where asylums and residential care have largely been done away with, the state of being under observation in much more comfortable surroundings still carries an implied threat of restriction of liberty.
In the Shadows of the InstitutionPainting & Conceptual
Lockdown Summer (2020)Painting
Portraits & SelfiesPainting
Me, Myself & IPainting
Party in my Leg IIPainting
© Grace Currie 2021