Shame is a so-called master emotion in that it affects other emotions like self pity, anger, fear, sadness and so on. It is the heart of a spider web of emotions, normally dark and upsetting emotions.
It is an anger that goes inwards and afflicts the sufferer although shame is usually the result of other people's actions, usually humiliating unjust actions and is not the fault necessarily of the person afflicted by shame. Guilt is what we feel when we have wronged others.
This painting expresses shame. The subject is diminished, hunch-shouldered, one of of her eyes is almost completely hidden away as if under a veil, her hair unkempt and her face tired and smudged as if she has been crying. Her forehead head is like two window panes exposed to the prying eyes of others, as if they can read her thoughts.
Shame is a weakening of the body and mind, a shutting away of self from the outside world, a self imposed prisoning.
This is the eleventh painting a series of paintings I have embarked on, called "Sinister Selfies"; a project of paintings which distorts the idea of selfies. Instead of being snapshots of rampant narcissism in various sunny or celebratory locations, they instead invite and allow the viewer into a world which implies darker human realities such as addiction, co-dependency, trauma, terror, abuse, disgust, self loathing, disintegration of self and dissociation.
All areas of human experience close to my heart, so to speak.
Instead of snapshots of mindless self idolatry these sinister selfies give us a peak into other's lives and their discordant emotions and psychology and also into our shared communally lives generally and more presciently.
They reveal the aspects of self and humanity we would rather hide away, the sometimes unpalatable, even disturbing reality behind the facade we maintain in public.
Essentially I use a icon of our time, the Smartphone selfie, to turn a our gaze onto so-called darker elements of the human condition, mainly using heightened vibrant colour, distorted imagery and odd sized canvas.
oil painting on linen canvas