January 30, 2020

Do you have to appear broken on the outside to show you are broken on the inside?

Gemma Dolbear, 34

My work explores the importance of mental illness, particularly Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia has the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness. A Guardian article 15th Feb 2019 states, “The number of hospital admissions for eating disorders has doubled in six years” (NHS Digital). I was compelled to create this work to support and enhance my well-being throughout my ongoing recovery from Anorexia Nervosa which is intertwined with Depression and Anxiety. Painting has allowed me a safe avenue to express my feelings, using art as escapism from intrusive, racing thoughts. I have often felt words seem very black and white. My work allows the observer to consider their own links to mental health. This uncertainty of meaning or differences in interpretation echoes my own unclear thought processes. I have felt lost and had uncertainty of who I am or who I have become. This feeling has very much felt like an inner explosion, devastating with so much negative impact on every aspect of my life. I feel there is no obvious path to recovery from the grips of anorexia. As John Berger states in Ways of Seeing, “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”

Self-Destruction, 2018Oil paint on paper64cmx45cm