Mince Her

Mince Her, oil on canvas, 180cm x 150cm, 1996

This painting represents a heavily pregnant woman, a handle that also looks like a transparent tube is attached to her belly. A fine painted line of clotted blood joins flesh and tube. The woman’s torso has become amalgamated with a hand held kitchen meat mincing machine. Holes at the bottom where you would ordinarily see mince coming out become shafts of light. She looks transcendental, as if ¬†floating off into the ether. In the background of the painting safety pins fall around the central iconography of the body.

Mince Her, 1996 (detail), oil painting on canvas, 180x150cm

Mince Her was painted during an artists residency between 1995 and 1997 at Brockhall Village, Lancashire. Brockhall Village was being developed from a derelict mental asylum into a luxury secure housing estate by the property tycoon Gerald Hitman. Brockhall Village was built in 1904 as an Inebriate Women’s Reforatory, and closed down in 1992 as part of the conservative governments care in the community programme.

Mince Her

Mince Her (detail of safety pins), oil on canvas, 180cm x 150cm, 1996

During this residency I lived in the nurses quarters of the site and had a studio in the old Laundry Building. I gathered medical notes, x-rays, and other ephemera and detritus that had been left on the old site or was being used as part of the buildings programme. I utilised these objects and documents to create this painting , together  with interweaving stories from my personal history and the imagined histories of the women who had been residents of the Inebriates Reformatory. This painting acts as a meditation upon the lives of the women who were committed here, and as a painting to show how I felt emotionally connected to those who had lived on the site before me.

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