Solstice: light marks a turning point, a step back or forwards? I’m disorientated. It’s a day early, a leap year. Before the virus, I’d planned to visit the Devils Jumps for midsummer; see the sunset line up with the path between the barrows. Instead, I start the painting on the floor. The lightest day of the year; the painting could feel like light. Collect its densities as an event moving through our house, the awareness of light’s passage, tones and motion heightened in lockdown. Often eerily golden, like in the photograph, it is a mask to outside conditions, concealing damage, a type of privilege.
I turn to solstice to look for other kinds of knowledge or histories, to feel connected to a communal spirit. The night before, I listen to Silvia Federici’s ‘Witches, Work and Womxn: Revolution from the Kitchen’ and find that in Denmark they still burn ‘witch dolls’ or ‘hexes’ on the bonfire around midsummer, partake in witch-burning; the erasure of female knowledges and powers, a strategy for capitalism; the taking of common land.
When it gets dark over that weekend, I watch the daylight horror ‘Midsommar’ over three evenings on my own, breaking up its power to disturb. Dani (in Midsommar) screams, and her grief is shouted back towards her, with her. She is noticed, held by many arms, her emotion becomes experienced as the collective emotion, a moment of healing in the tearing of everything else.
A few days later, we suspend the painting from the house. The painting appears to shift in its materiality. It has the potential to bring us together, but as the material becomes lighter, words make me heavy. Small stones attach to wire, gaffa-taped to pebbles - wind round the string and hold onto it. Distance between basement, road, window, leads to gaps, tense calls, the painting halfway between us.
Liquid Ground, Video, 2 min 42 seconds
Amber translucent latex is painted with iridescent and fluorescent pigments to amplify colour of reflections in the water and complicate distinctions between figure and ground; register a surface collapsing the virtual and real. Skin becomes water, latex becomes pond and the wind’s movement of tadpoles becomes the act of painting - directing matter that already has a life force. In a stream of consciousness, my voice, entwined with sounds of water, addresses the flints, a friend, the painting as ‘you’, drawing a line through, a metamorphosis between body and painting.