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"Scratch: Fiona Couldridge and Michale Smith"
2006-07-02 until 2006-07-22
gordart Gallery
Johannesburg, , ZA South Africa

gordart Gallery in Johannesburg presents "Scratch" works by Fiona Couldridge and Michale Smith until July 22, 2006. The body of work centres on notions of the self, both bodily and psychologically. Couldridge makes paintings, sourced from prints of her body. In contrast to the direct, immediate print, the painting is labour-intensive and has a strong element of control. Through the use of thick tactile paint, the mediated image becomes more ‘bodily’ than the direct print. However, as the images are re-sized and copied, they lose much of their “scientific” detail. While the paintings possess a medical and forensic quality, the unavoidable alterations tell lies. The paintings conjure allusions to scans, x-rays and maps, so that the exterior body speaks of the interior self.

The works become, in part, the way Couldridge ‘maps’ or studies herself.

Many of the works refer to doubling, and have strong allusions to the Rorschach Test, a method of psychological evaluation developed by the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, a follower of Freud. The reflected images and allusions to mirroring continue Couldridge’s interest in psychoanalysis, as well as the potential pitfalls and limitations of psychoanalytical studies.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

Couldridge’s “Wheel of Fortune” is sourced from two smudged foot-prints. The wheel of fortune refers to another method of examining the world (as opposed to psychoanalysis). The oval shape is typical of portraits or mirrors, although the shape has been changed from a vertical format to a horizontal one. As one turns and looks at the work, monstrous skull-like images emerge, referring to the art-historical tradition of memento mori.

SHUT AND OPEN

Couldridge’s “Shut and Open” is souced from a smudged hand-print, the one side mirroring the other. The painting evokes the Rorschach test/Ink-blot test. As one looks at the work, an ominous face emerges, as do two threatening ‘Red-Indian faces’. Children often paint with their hands, and the making of a painting which is then folded to reveal an image is popular with young children. Couldridge’s images, however, are a great deal more sinister.


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