These Cells were part of a solo show exhibited at
an exhibition designed to highlight Mental Health issues and celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week – May 2018
at The Open Door Gallery, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
The ten Archi-Frames with Solar Plate Prints depict parts of photos found in a Brighton flea market. The frames were made of wood that was once old architrave taken from the demolished walls of Graylingwell Mental Asylum.
When I saw the architrave I wondered what sights and scenes this inanimate material had witnessed. Images that came to mind were of old and abandoned wards & corridors in a Mental Asylum were sad and poignant. The corridors looked scarily like frames when a face was superimposed on the end wall, and bore a similarity to my idea of how the finished piece should look.
My frames have, on the whole, the thick, outer parts of the architrave turned around to make a central viewing window rather than the more usual, narrower edge in the middle. With the origins of this material in mind I hope that looking down these apertures will lend a sense of voyeurism to the peering experience. For this reason too, they are hung just slightly lower than is comfortable as I am evoking a sense of bending down to look through a key or peep hole; where what is seen is difficult to make sense of – people locked away, unable to go home or escape the wardens who, most probably would continuously observe them through.
The solar plate etchings within the apertures are heavily cropped parts of family photos found in a flea market in Brighton. The images used depict arms, knees, hands, faces and an eye uncannily taken out of context and digitally manipulated to create a uniform ‘look’ by applying a Bitmap screen – as used in photo journalism.