Birthing

Historical pigments (cinnabar, minum, saffron, red ochre) in egg tempera and silk thread on paper. ø 56 cm.

Date7 May 2020
Category

Something between an image and a feeling, but less tangible than either, pushes through its way into my consciousness. I then endeavour to translate it materially, without losing that original signature of which the only record is a sensation.

There is something self-referential about this image, describing the very process by which it came into being. Where previously there was Nothing, Something is suddenly there, striving to come into existence, pulsating with irresistible life force that will destroy what doesn’t make way. The vesica shape is the intersection of two circles, two worlds, through which something can be born.

I used historical pigments in mixtures I had just been testing in the context of my research on medieval middle-eastern inks and paints: cinnabar, minium, red ochre and soot, intensified with saffron. The medium is egg tempera, which doesn’t belong to that tradition but allowed me to layer and glaze the colours until they looked unified in their diversity, as if bathed in the same red light or circulated by the same blood.

The caterpillar binding stitch is a solid boundary that does much to convey the impression of a passage opening in the paper. Though beautiful, it is uncomfortable, evoking stitches on a wound.

Creation process:

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