November 21, 2020

Who are we in our deepest reveries?

Tess Glen

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Oil on BoardServe Yourself, 202019 x 20cm

Painted at the peak of the lockdown in April, I was responding to the notion of self-isolation. It is a double self-portrait. I am both the sitter and the pourer of wine, inward looking and complete in a world of my own creation. During lockdown, I missed the sense of occasion you would find in a restaurant or bar. Being seen and seeing. Before lockdown I would often draw in public places. Watching people, how they interacted and responded to their surroundings. These drawings gave me an understanding of the city and its inhabitants, who I imagined as characters acting out their identities. Identity is meaning-making but perhaps it doesn’t matter so much when we are alone? But these socially distanced times allow us to be caught in echo chambers of our identities. Despite claims that we are connected online ‘now more than ever’, I can’t help but think this is a reality mediated by media, algorithms which calcify and monetise upon our identities. How can we protect ourselves from this? In my work I am interested in who we are in our deepest reveries, and how we can transcend the character we have been asked to play.