Statment of Intent
Katherine Gilmartin Artist
I started talking 2 years ago. Pretty vague sounding but not knowing how to speak your mind, to pin down how you feel is a common way to be. Living in the same loops of behaviour is oddly comfortable. Confidence in knowing how to play the loop. How to play the game, comfort in chaos. Being honest means leaving behind some chaos. It takes courage, to be seen and heard.
Learning how you think is an exciting experience. Learning how to use your voice is a scary and exhausting experience. Non verbal communication, making and painting is often overlooked, closed and shut off. Looking back at my processes, installations and drawings I can see what I wasn’t willing to say. An inner monologue silently screaming. Courage and honesty means narrowing the gap between what I mean and what I draw, unapologetic and with purpose, no longer shut off or looking to the audience for my meaning.
I have become more honest with my work in recent years. Gaining ownership of my voice and intention is a very fun challenge. Increasing overlap is visible in my character and abstract work, down to the catalyst and motives being routed in the same place. There is a subtle play of vulnerability in eyeballs and teeth, flesh and monsters, internal thoughts and external tissue, innocence and sexuality.The recurring motifs are both aggressive or strong and soft or vulnerable. Bodily and monstrous.
Enthusiastically exploring edges of what I’m capable of is both indulgent and generous. What I give out visually is a fraction of a story, a narrative that is personal. Within that giving is an almost tangible element for an audience. That little bit of human nature, human struggle that is present is what I use and play with, what an audience might connect with.
This body of large paintings and ink work was about finding a voice, my voice. I can authentically speak for a collective of shared experience in childhood and parenting. Finding the words for past trauma to work out subsequent pain and lack of a voice. Accepting the need to talk and growing the confidence to let myself take up space. Advocating for the importance that this collective voice is seen and heard.
Finding a Voice is an act of broadcasting that voice to enable more discussion around parenting through PTSD and family mental health. I have invited Art Psychotherapist Jan Goldsworthy to my studio to respond to my work.
Janette Goldsworthy Art Psychotherapist
This is a collaborative journey with Katherine Gilmartin about being female and being a mother and also being an artist.
My art is response art to feelings we all to a lesser or further extent experience. These are in relation to finding a voice of what it is like being on the inside of being female.
I have been on a journey since 2000 working in the area of mental health as an Art Psychotherapist. I have been asking questions to families about their attachment in response to the dialogue of image making in the hope of finding a shared meaning and understanding to their dilemmas.
When my daughter was born 14 years ago I experienced pre-eclampsia first hand not knowing what this condition could lead to. Birth trauma is emotionally and physically distressing and leads to further complications if not treated.
“ It is an event in the delivery process that involves the perception of a serious injury or death to the mother of her infant and is associated with strong feelings of fear.” (Beck 2004)
Many women don’t come forward to talk about their experiences of birth trauma and/or pre-existing trauma before birth or even in their childhoods themselves. The art process can aid healing and potential growth to overcome major negative life events.
We are both alongside each other joining to collaborate our voices together. They may have been unseen and unheard previously. We are hoping that other people can join us and respond and also help them find a voice to unspeakable or indescribable things themselves. Words can help but we first need to process our feelings in order to find words for these experiences. The art image is direct and powerful and reveals many hidden truths.
Finding A Voice 2017
took place in Nunnsyard Gallery Norwich, July 12th-19th 2017
Follow & Respond using #findingavoice17
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Exhibition documented @ forevertoofar.com
Feature Image “LOOKING” oil on canvas 2016 & “POLKADOT” acrylic on canvas 2016 by Katherine Gilmartin(forevertoofar)
photograph by @docfrog via Flicker for more click here