Delving into existential concepts of identity and self-perception, I contemplate the juxtaposition of the term ‘self-portrait’. Using Lacan’s mirror stage theory as a foundation for composing my research, I translate theoretical discussions of the ‘self’ into brushstrokes and paint. Dabbling occasionally in body paint, I primarily work with oil paint on canvas or wood in order to gesture to self-portraiture’s long and traditional history. I dissect the ‘self’ and its resistance to visual interpretation until I am conscious of its fluidity and oscillation which ultimately renders the notion of a true self-portrait absurd. Yet like so many before me, this absurdity does not dissuade my artistic investigation of the self, but fuels it.
The eye is an imperative feature of my self-portraits; aiming to engage in a direct connection with the viewer. It works as an invitation for the viewer to scrutinise their own self-perception and ignite a dialogue. An intimacy provided by the direct gaze is in parody of the intimate experience of peering into a mirror for perhaps a little too long, until one feels detached from their own reflection; the familiar becoming ‘other’. After workshopping ways in which to display my self-portraits, I now consider the body of work and any future self-portraits I do, as a single piece of art. The many repeated representations indicate the granularity of the self, and ultimately the preposterous notion of a true self-portrait, making the presentation just as significant as the work itself.