Counterpain #16 (2017)

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Childhood memories of confinement to bed due to illness - mother as well as me – return in adulthood during periods of unwellness. Books were a way out of the tedium of endless days and nights living under covers. British imperialist literature included. Scottish writers were appropriate for children and later the Irish who weren’t. As an immigrant, Canadian writers only came with schooling. Women writers even later and anything non-Anglo a far cry away.

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson contained the poem “The Land of Counterpane” about a boy’s imaginary world while convalescing in bed. A starting point. As an adult, a project emanated out of The Yellow Wallpaper, again containing vivid imagery about the experience of being confined to small spaces and the effect upon the imagination.

This work is about the small but infinite world of being in a particular place much of the time with little movement and variation. Almost a tedium. Except for the capacity to see and record. And then the process of translating the recorded images into something that externalizes the internal experience into a tangible visual result.

Wax embeds and protects, coats and preserves, deepens and adds dimension to the instant photography of the cell phone camera. These images are intimate and page sized. Like a book. Each is visual poem in which I lived. This is what happens when the internal eye is open while the eyelids are closed.

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Additional Details

About the artist
About the artist

Michèle White’s work explores – often through sources in literature – manifestations of the unconscious or the invisible in the visible world. Deeply attached to physical practices in art and hand production, the history and meaning of materials and processes are central to the artist’s vis, ... View full profile

Toronto, Ontario
Partial artist since 2019

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