Broken Wing

graphite on paper

Wings (2000 – 2001)

There was no mind over matter when her body lost its mean of flight and no mind over matter could break me her from a neurological illness in its infancy. In these works she went back to the imagery of wings as a means to express freedom of movement as she had done so before in her painting Golden Angel whose wings were of flight were breaking free and an unearthing expressing our own means of escape and our ability to fly onwards to lands that are new. During this period of Broken Flight wings expressed comfort and compassion, in others an inability to fly because wings were broken. They express a desire to push through, a strength she was trying to bring to herself and also the comfort she yearned for in her darkest moments internally, trying to use flight as a way through to reach the light.

For every death we endure within ourselves there is a rebirth into a new form as we learn and grow from the experience, each death brings a new resurrection, a new renaissance of the heart. Buried elements within nature are brought to the surface and when mixed with oxygen bring change, some elements change with that exposure, whilst others remain true to their form like pure gold. Imitation manmade gold is exposed for what it truly is; copper. In her work imitation gold is used to reveal what we thought were truths as being no more than mere lies we foolishly believed in our innocence of not knowing.

The illness was taking hold of her and these works focused upon the emotional enclosure she felt within her body and mind and it brought to her palette new metals to work with. Again natures elements came to illustrate her emotional journey and learning and her eventual acceptance that was: it is her body to have changed and not the artist.


Oil Painting with Mica, Copper Powder & Gold Leaf on Irish Linen

Fake gold pigment was used for the background of Mine Heart and then dribbled upon the surface over that a chemical liquid mix which accelerates oxidation she had developed at The Slade School of Fine Art in London with her trusted Chemistry professor, an elderly man she adored for his knowledge and quiet manner. Using a heavily laden brush she applied the mixture at the top so it could weep and track its own way down the Irish linen canvas and in its path expose the truth of the gold for all that was; copper. The nurturing wings are built upon this surface of lies exposed, and the wings are heavily sculpted with mica flakes in the paint which reflect back sparkles of light and highlights of pure gold – gold something which is precious and unchanging and symbolizes within her work a truth. Within the wings that nurture is a heart of pearl with mica flakes that sparkle with the movement of light. The work is a comment on her domestic abuse, it was about surviving the lies with a heart stronger and not weaker and more precious than devalued. The use of pearl was not happenstance it acknowledges that something so precious and beautiful as a pearl is created from great pain.


Oil Painting, Mica, Copper, Iron Weighting & Silver Leaf on Irish Linen

The more than life-size physical presence of ‘Resurrection’ makes the image more powerful in person and the physical depth of the piece adds to its overwhelming presence.The female form is seen as part phoenix and in the process of rising from decay and burial. The image is not about death it is about rebirth – a renaissance of the heart. The thick encrusted areas of rust at the bottom of the canvas appear to be frozen in a moment of eruption, for it has taken an eruption for the female form to begin to break free. On the rust, imitation gold has been exposed for its true nature – copper – and tinges the rust with verdigris.

Her breast, heart and hands bleed Alizarin Crimson oil paints, her wounds are new and with healing blood they will form scars; for it is scar tissue when formed becomes the stronger skin covering. It was in this piece on her wings she began to use mica flakes to reflect light back brightly, just flickers, like glimpses we see in the darkness of a storm when lightening strikes – for a moment there is illumination and clarity of our surroundings, those flickers symbolized to her glimpses of wisdoms we remember or newly learn from our own life experiences. Resurrection symbolizes the rising up to clarity and wisdom from a destruction.



Wings as part of the Retrospective galleries was followed by the Sleep galley.