Thursday, 28 February 2013

Silenced Love

Artwork created using Rubbings:

After a demonstration on how to do rubbings and some effects that one can achieve using wax crayons, pastels, wet teabags, inks and bleach, we lay on the ground and got our partner to draw our outline (body map) on a large piece of paper. We then set about filling in the spaces with rubbings of various objects: rubber stencils, dried leaves, wooden cutouts, a flattened cold drink can, pieces of wood, the bathroom floor, anything that could leave an interesting mark on the paper when rubbed over with a wax crayon. The picture could then be worked into using inks, bleach etc.
One is required to work quite quickly with not too much thought or planning, but to instinctively be guided by what your picture needs. It can be an enormous amount of fun to freely experiment with the mediums given to you on that day if you are able to let go and not worry too much about the final product.

The thing about Process Art is that the end product is not the main focus. Process art is concerned with the actual doing, and seeing the art as pure human expression. It is a creative journey or process, rather than the end product of art and craft. As an artist who has been taught to conceptualise, plan, research, do preliminary sketches etc before producing a final artwork, approaching this work with no end vision takes some getting used to. I also need to overcome the fear of criticism of my end result, not only by others but also by myself.
This is my (rather scary) result from last week's Process Art class. I've called it "Silenced Love".
At first glance it made me think of Spiderman, probably because my 5 year old son has been nagging me lately to please Make him a Spiderman mask. He even drew me a 'plan' to follow so that I would know how to make it :)
But on a more serious note, it depicts and represents many thoughts that had been crowding my head in the days running up to the class....
The upsetting news of a friend's extramarital affair got me thinking about the fears and challenges couples face when they have small children. The juggling act involved in keeping all aspects of your life (family, marriage, work, finances, friends) in balance can often be overwhelming. It is hard not to neglect your relationship. The role of being a parent and the demands that go with it can consume one.
Stories in the news in the last few weeks have been unbelievably shocking and tragic. The gang-rape, mutilation and murder of Anene Booysen, the rape and murder of Ge-Audrey Green, the murder of Charmaine Mare, and the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius.

Even though I was not consciously thinking about any of these stories when I went to my art class or while I was creating this work, they were obviously still sitting in my subconscious taking up space and robbing my energy. When I looked at my work at the end of the session I saw a woman with her hands on her stomach, her Sacral Chakra which relates to sexuality and emotions. I also saw chaos, confusion, hurt, love, sex, marriage, trust, violence, affair, broken heart, broken promise, protection, abuse, black birds, flight, death, silence...
I called the work "Silenced Love".
A minute later, the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" came to mind and the image of a woman with a moth over her mouth. The movie is about a psychopathic serial killer who skins women. (Pretty scary don't you think?)

Detail 1 of "Silenced Love":
White wax crayon was used to rub over the butterfly wing cut-outs. Inks were then painted over the wax.
The cardboard cutout of a bird was rubbed over with black wax crayon.
I have done a search on the Internet for the symbolism and meaning of a Black Bird and came across the following:
and on another site: 
Hmmmmm. Interesting...
 Detail 2 of "Silenced Love":
Bits of lace, a rubber 'Henna Tatoo' stencil, dried leaves and a flattened cold drink can are some of the items that I used to rub over with black wax crayon.
Henna is typically applied during special Hindu occasions like weddings.
This henna stencil also looks a lot like The Hand of Protection or Hamsa.


  1. Wendy - this is absolutely amazing and it just makes me realise what a huge part of the creative process of life through art I am losing out on, by concentrating so much on WORK.

    Thank you for this and for the wonderful insightful meanings.


  2. Fascinating Wendy. Thanks for sharing this astounding process with us!