Making Connections With Louise Bourgeois

I was reading what Louise Bourgeois said about her abstract v her realistic drawings and I understood immediately,

“… The abstract drawings come from a real need to achieve peace, rest, sleep. They relate to unconscious memories … In contrast, the realistic drawings represent the overcoming negative memory, the need to erase and to get rid of it”.

I spent several years painting large (2m x 1m) abstract canvases, they formed the Memories & Whispers series from 2005-2011. Horizontal lines were repetitively painted and built up under a palette of mainly red, gold and blue. They visually have a very calm, soothing quality to them compared to my Myth of Danae series where I photograph, draw and paint directly my own body and hair. This work delves deep into the depths of unhappy memories that I want to dig up. These are the ones that disturb me.

This duality of surface and depth, reason and chaos, peace and turbulence is echoed in the subject matter and the way in which I treat it. In my abstract work, whenever hand-drawn lines and marks leapt out from this order I would immediately get the ruler and tape and mask out more orderly geometric lines and cover them up. I cannot do this in my figurative work, everything is laid bare and I work in a frenetic and slightly awkward way. I now realise that these are the two sides of the same coin – without the struggle there would be no need to ease the tension and if I didn’t have the ability to be calm I would not be able to delve into the depths of despair and unhappiness.

Melissa Budasz. Originally posted 11 January 2014

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