On the theme of scapegoat I worked on images of animals that came to mind and a fierce looking wolf emerged. This made me think of the many elements that the wolf could represent. My first thought was the presence of a mortal threat or threat of exclusion that the group, person or institution doing the 'scapegoating' represents to an individual or group of individuals. One thing that has always struck me when the process of scapegoating arises is the fear and anxiety that it triggers in those targeted to hold these experiences and the often ultimately damning outcome of being 'outcast' by a family, community or institution and the risk to emotional and physical survival. Working in institutions as an Art Psychotherapist, there are times when you can come to represent the difficulties and messy feelings that many clients face and the process of these feelings and experiences becoming voiced or acknowledged because they can be overwhelming, leaving the door open to becoming the representation of uncomfortable emotional experiences. So a key role becomes containing these and feeding back in a manageable way, which can be a tender balance. Whilst discussing the theme of 'Scapegoat' as a group, the theme of rivers and wolves came up where the land over the years has been effected by the wolves patterns of habitation and hunting grounds. I feel on a wider scale in society this image of wolves carving out the land can be seen with various groups taking the wolf roles, either in breaking away and using voices to change the tide, challenge or question the actions of others or in abusing the fear instilled in others by their strength and power. The wolf in Native American history was seen as embodying a conflicting mix of independence, strength, passion and nurture. When outside of the community the wolf becomes aggressive, obsessive and vindictive. This makes me wonder about the many leaders of various waves of political changes that have scapegoated groups of people and how possibly past experiences of experiencing being 'out of the group' or not accepted in themselves can lead to an experience of a fierce unconscious need for others to know how it feels to be 'outcast' and alone.
My previous art practice mainly focused on the traces that the people around us and experiences leave within who we become. The form of these come to life through the animals in my artwork representing different aspects of character with pieces slotting together from generations past and present as well as new pieces gathered from my own set of experiences. These animals also help me to explore the different emotions and complications which arise in my work as an Art Psychotherapist. I work with many children and families as an Art Psychotherapist and animals often arise in the artwork within sessions, enveloping the warring of impulses and instincts with social life. These animals become symbols of feeling states, histories and the need to survive.
In my artwork the animals' expressions have become more dynamic. Such as a tiger no longer representing just the instantaneous anger that arises at times, but the vulnerability and fears underneath these responses. Capturing an expression makes me think of the complex layers of experience reflected and the inherited aspects from culture, family and environment. I love working with lino because the final images are always unexpected and surprising, allowing the underlying emotion to come forward. In the latest prints there have been pieces of the lino in the images, which shows an imprint of its making. I think these accidental aspects add to the process of revealing the final image. The images are not pristine reminding me that nothing is ever completely resolved, but continuously growing and adapting.