Gestalt discusses the fragmentation of self – a potential consequence of our increasing use of social media and the internet. The more we participate in virtual communities, the further our identities splinter and disperse, leaving us desperately trying to hang on to our 'selves' at a time when the very definition of identity is being redefined. Gestalt is the latest in a series of works enquiring into the social impacts of the digital revolution.

Paper forms the core of my practice – exploring the tension created when a palpable, physical object is juxtaposed with the ethereal, virtual world of the internet. This self-portrait considers the power of a simple piece of paper to act as an anchor to our physical reality, and warns of the potential diffusion of self. The oversized figure gazes back at us, interrogating and challenging the viewer to pause, observe and interact.

The figure itself is a literal fragment, collaged onto the background – an identity superimposed, but not belonging to – the world in which it exists. There is also a fragmentation of technique and material. While the figure is painted in bold watercolour and carefully outlined in pen, the dark, messy acrylic and pencil background moves forward to embrace the figure while also drawing in the viewer. Finally, the figure itself is fragmented. Each colour is outlined to create boundaries where they perhaps do not need to exist – a reference to the boundaries we erect around each of our on- and off-line identities.


Watercolour, pen, acrylic on paper