The Grownup Child

  • From left: Adolescent. 168.3cm by 116.2cm – 66” x 45″ inches; Crystal. 169cm by 160cm – 66” x 63” inches; Craig and Franka. 199cm by 129cm – 77” x 51” inches. Guache, charcoal, conte, oil sticks, encaustics. 2004.
  • From Top: Maria. 179 cm by 169 cm – 70″ x 66″ inches; Yelena. 206 cm by 181 cm – 81” x 71” inches; Three by a Tree. 206 cm by 215 cm – 81” x 84” inches, Guache, charcoal, conte, oil sticks, encaustics. 2004.
  • Dana. 180 cm by 171 cm – 71” x 67” inches. Guache, charcoal, conte, oil sticks, encaustics. 2004
  • Uno Momento. 169 cm by 115 cm – 66” x 45” inches. Guache, charcoal, conte, oil sticks, encaustics. 2004
  • Siren. 169 cm by 135 cm – 66” x 53” inches. Guache, charcoal, conte, oil sticks, encaustics. 2004
  • Lovely and Devilish. 202 cm by 128 cm – 79” x 50” inches. Guache, charcoal, conte, oil sticks, encaustics. 2004

“The Grown up Child” is inspired by Jungian ideas about the human psyche which according to Carl C.G. Jung consist of the ego, personal unconscious and collective unconscious. In particular I was interested in his idea of the “persona” which is not unlike a mask, the aspect of our ego which is shaped in part by us and, by a larger extent, by society we live in so as to better fit in with its overall expectations of us and our role.  Based on that premise I made the assumption that if there is anything like an “original self” if must exist early on in our development. Pursuing this idea I read a little about personality development in children which did not led me to believe that there is a hard line in personality development between a time where we are “pure” and after. This did not make the question of what or rather who would be found if the personality or the societal mask each of us grows over time would be removed. Taking a literal approach I pivoted the work on the premise that if we did remove the mask we would be left with a face of a child. On the one hand I liked the disquieted feeling an adult body with a child’s face stirred it being visually striking and perplexing.  On the other hand I still believe in the metaphor of the child for the human condition which encompasses fear, ignorance, and destruction in equilibrium with fragility, resilience, inquisitiveness and love.

Stylistically the works reflect my interest in Renaissance and Baroque painting at the time. In particular, the life and work of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, his use of light and allegory fascinated me. In learning about his process made me consider how I could use art as a way to develop a meaningful connection with people, something which I continue to value in my practice and continue to explore in each of my projects. My studio which ranged from a room at the Ontario Collage of Art to a kitchen or living room of one of the friends who agreed to model for me became the space in which I hoped to achieve such a connection.  In the hours that the drawing would take place my aim was to create a calm and meditative space that at times led to deep existential conversations. Other times we merely enjoyed each other’s presence as I scribbled on the large sheet of paper I made for the drawing while the person would lose themselves to their thoughts, listing to their favorite album, reading a book, knitting and the like. It is in those moments that I was hoping to get a glimpse of the person in front of me and not just their persona. At the time I knew that this was something special as generating a deep and meaningful connection with another human being always is and I hope that some of this was successfully embedded in these drawings.