It could be said that all art has to do with
self-exploration. For me, self-exploration is the subject
itself. Whatever form my visual work takes, whether (loosely
speaking) landscapes, portraits, figures, interiors, it is
always an attempt to discover what the words, I, me, myself
mean in relation to my perception of who I am.
For several years, my main work has been to listen
to that silent stream of words that runs incessantly in my
mind and record it without censoring it. I have found a rummage
heap of petrified beliefs and judgments, formed long ago,
yet they still retain their power to shape and define me.
They often continue to influence my choices even now. When
Ive wondered throughout my life why my experience has
rarely matched my hopes and dreams, why I so often stop short
of fulfilling what I envisionthe clues had always been
thereat the top of my brain.
Miraculously, I am able to hold two conflicting thoughts at
the same time and be unaware that Im doing it. As I
attempt to act on one, the other is simultaneously paralyzing
me in that very attempt. It amazes me that this was always
so visible yet remained so hidden. This small revelation has
led me to question the voice and its endless chatter, discard
the thoughts and expose the beliefs that no longer apply and
possibly never did.
The Persona series began with no concept,
no visual premonitions, only an intention to draw heads.
It wasnt until all 15 images were more or less finished
that titles began to surface. It was only when I began naming
them that I saw I was unconsciously identifying the personalities
who carry on their monologue/dialogue within me. While all
15 images could be described as a collective self-portrait,
Im aware, now, that they are not the essential I.
These Persona characters (and there appear to be many more)
are a visual expression of identifying and understanding
the inner life of an individualone that we all call
by the same name, me.
©2000-2002 Lorraine Shirkus. All rights reserved.