Rachel Bride Ashton – Artists Statement
We do ‘not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious’ (Carl Jung)
I use painting, printing, poetry, music, video, sound and performance to explore betrayal, the shadow archetype and projection as understood in Jungian psychology while also trying to keep my holistic and environmental concerns in mind. I scrutinize our shallow understanding of sexual desire and betrayal within a western, monogamous cultural framework and the surrounding shame that prohibits open discussion of this embarrassing subject, by visualising the individual stripped down to their body parts in a state of arousal. As a species forever in our heads, I try to use some humour to depict us, in all our raw and exposed animal glory and to encourage questioning of our current sexual script.
With allusions to artists like Carroll Dunham, Monster Chetwynd, Laurie Anderson and Cleon Peterson I demonstrate that we are constantly being shaken into frenzied states of desire, hate and revenge, by our shadows. Drawing on my own experience of family betrayal, sexual desire, a house fire and their interconnectedness, I delve into what I believe, is the darkness that lies behind all judgment, racism, homophobia, betrayal, violence etc. All the shameful, and therefore, repressed elements of the self which we wish to hide from the world; we project onto others. I attempt to show that if we don’t learn to recognise this shadow and incorporate it consciously into our personalities, then it can assume control over our behaviour with sometimes devastating consequences.
Pictures to illustrate my Reflective Research Journal posts can be seen here:
This is a link to the off-grid project on the land where I live and have lived since 2007. Unfortunately on the 5th of December 2016 it suffered a devastating fire which destroyed nearly all our buildings. But, following immense support from family, friends and local community, we are back on the land, starting over, with eleven years of experience and lessons learned. You can follow the progress here.