Proximal Abandonment and imagery sourced from this psychosocial phenomena
(my 2011 Foundation Dip Fine Art project)
My pathway stage focused mainly within areas of using art as social commentary, which I feel, reflects my strongest viewpoints.
I enjoyed producing a series of works based on the word ‘Aspiration’ which included my own slant on the word using various socio-political sources to inform the work.
- From having produced work in this area I now intend to go on to make a more in depth investigation to produce works based on the psychosocial phenomenon of abuse known as ‘Proximal Abandonment’.
- Research shows that emotional unavailability towards our children or closest dependents equates to ‘Proximal Abandonment’.
There is physical presence, but emotional abandonment from the parent figure,
they are physically present but non-interactive with their dependents.
- I would like to equate this phenomenon and apply this notion with substituting our politicians or those in a position of power or trust as my subject matter.
- I use the language of Art to symbolically convey my ideas, views and feelings on these issues.
Influences, Research, Sources and Ideas
- In order to begin my assignment I intend to gather research, produce mind maps and gather ideas from a variety of artists and designers, that I find influential such as;
Andy Warhol, Terry Setch, Max Ernst, Jamie Reid and Banksy.
- I particularly like the way in which these artists subvert imagery and use juxtaposition to convey a message, and how by using a mixed media approach pleasing unexpected results may be obtained.
- I feel my work could be influenced further by researching;
newspaper articles, museum and gallery visits, blogs, libraries,
psychological experiments, case studies, Facebook forum discussions and internet sources.
- Initially, Warhol’s ‘Mao, 1973’ is a work I feel I can utilize in particular, in addition to found objects, my responses to journalism, advertising and consumerism giving me potential ideas to develop, through photography, collage, mixed media and drawing.
- Further reading: “Psychiatric Tales” a graphic artist’s battle against depression/anxiety and his work in mental health care. BBC R4 interview – All In The Mind, 25th May 2011. Excellent interview.
The Science bit
- Pioneering child psychologist D.W Winnicott said that fundamentally two things can go wrong in early child development;
- a) when things happen that should not happen.
- b) when things that should happen do not.
- The first category is the traumatic abusive and abandonment experience suffered for example, by children of addicts.
- The second category is the lack of presence of the emotionally available parent or primary carer – just not being available due to societies stresses, short term priorities, and so on
– affecting the parenting environment.
Psychologist Allan N Schore called this “Proximal Abandonment” – when the parent is physically present but emotionally absent.
- I have entitled the first of the three of my chosen final artworks based on Winnicott’s second fundamental principle.
Fay Godwin – book “our forbidden land”
- The British landscape is under threat moreso than ever before from government policies: industry,agri-business and powerful interests while our historic rights of access are increasingly denied.
- Fay Godwin uses a combination of her photography and words and selected poems and quotes to reveal a deep rooted commitment and respect for the land.
- She uses haunting, penetrating photographs and text to fuse aesthetic perception with realism, documentary and irony to form a rousing passionate appeal for the land us as citizens can no longer roam.
- I want my FMP works to contain a similar appeal and substance to that of Fay Godwin’s.
- I want to produce a passionate and thought provoking series of images on how I feel we as people are having our rights infringed and health endangered by those supposedly in charge but who put their status and careers in front of their duty of care and what should be their primary concern – us!
My intention initially was to take inspiration from what Andy Warhol did with the image of Chairman Mao in 1973.
It had background acrylic on canvas with an ink print of the portrait printed in the foreground.
I wanted to take a similar approach with a canvas painted with an everyday scene and print a contemporary figure or image I the foreground using the inkjet/acetone transfer/decalcomania technique.
I chose to satirise Ieuan Wyn Jones of the Welsh Assembly government in this recognisable way.
I saw him as someone who has jeopardised the health and environment of everyone in my local area due to his dealings with American corporation Covanta who plan to build the UK’s largest ever waste incinerator I an area already acknowledged has having a population with extremely poor health and the highest rate of pulmonary/heart disease in Wales.
I saw him as a figure guilty of political abandonment of those in need, in favour of short term gain.
Recently Lib-Dem MP John Hemming became a champion for free speech, this coming from a pot-bellied serial cheat and love rat who fathered a child with a mistress and who used taxpayers money to part-fund a private business.
I wonder if he’ll re-Tweet that?
- My development piece is called “It takes one politician and a truckload of shite to begin a generation of misery” and was transferred using translucent silicone sealant onto green masonry sack.
For research and for the purpose of inspiration, museum visits and galleries I have attended were:
- National Museum of Wales, Aberdare Museum, St David’s Hall Cardiff, Bay Arts Gallery and Cardiff Bay Crafts Gallery.
Some of the more relevant artists to the project I had in mind that I felt most inspired by included established artists such as:
- John Piper, Terry Setch (especially Landfil 2010), Dave Brook’s plaster and pigment work (Tract11 & Tract 12)
- newly qualified artists I viewed such as Nicole Thoss’ copy transfer ceramics (Scream No.1 & No.2 and Kidnapping), Dawn Dupree (It’s Never Black and White) and Vicky Shaw (various).
- The Nicole Thoss copy transfer works were especially interesting to me as this,prior to any gallery visits,is the technique I had been researching, along with investigating various materials to transfer onto.
The three artworks I have chosen to represent my final works in this project are deliberately displayed in the following sequence;
a) “Things that should happen, but don’t”,
b) “I am someone too”,
c) “You’ve fallen for the monkey trap.
This is because there is a narrative quality that I wanted to convey to the observer.
- The three parts come together to show the phenomenon of Proximal Abandonment beginning with the Authority figures and their rush for a quick fix to the problem of residual waste management and the promises of a profit hungry American incinerator corporation homing in on an already deprived ex-coal field community, a place wherein some areas have a male life expectancy of less than 59 years of age.
- Secondly onto the sombre, yet defiant figure of a young child protesting.
I convey that she has been abandoned and her rights discarded or ignored.
She represents us and our future generations, I hope to evoke and convey ideas and release feelings about social and political abandonment using the sack cloth background.
- Thirdly, the image of man’s closest cousin, the chimpanzee, in a contemplative, possibly mocking pose.
This echoes an allegorical passage from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” on short sightedness and it’s many fatal pitfalls and begs the question are they making monkeys of us all?