January 6, 2020

What is the function of rock bottom?

Helen Morley, 51

Suffering is ubiquitous, subjective and inevitable. As an autistic woman in 12 step recovery, my life experience of rock bottom and what exists on the other side, is my research and my future. These paintings are made by looking at photographs of police mugshots of people at the point of arrest – their moment of defeat or defiance is raw. However, my paintings are not literal portraits but spiritually semi-autobiographical as I find the part of me that identifies with my fellows. All marks are made quickly and intuitively without judgement or drawing, they are just feelings. In paint, I find a way to love these people, it is how I find compassion for us both: the identification and forgiveness, the understanding, the potential restoration even in that shattering brokenness, a benediction and some hope. I paint because what I want to say is: let us judge others only as we judge ourselves, and let’s judge ourselves with more care. Let’s be gentle, because vulnerability is the gateway to integrity and this fucked up world needs more of that. The function of rock bottom as I have experienced it, is that Grace can only come to those that need it.

We are Legion, 2019Oil on boardA4