Surrounding Thoughts, by Lena Snow - International Delivery (£45 + P&P £14.10)
Limited Edition Digitally Signed Print - Surrounding Thoughts, by Lena Snow
Size: W:263mm x H:386mm, Print size W:297mm x H:420mm
Limited Edition of 15
Digitally printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm
International Delivery (£45 + P&P £14.10)
About the artwork
Surrounding thoughts, acrylic on canvas, 80x60 cm
This painting shows a young woman whose facial expression exhibits the faintest hint of a smile. Her hair is arranged in the fashion of an afro reminiscent of the late 1960s and 70s, just like her earrings and clothes. The woman is lightly dressed, as she only wears a vest which is fashionably compounded by a piece of cloth around her neck. Surrounding her one can discern colour gradients that stretch from different shades of red to structures of white. The gradients remind one of the structure of a tree with its branches, and they also look like braids, roots, or the course of a river. The woman appears to be slightly reclined back. The background is a golden yellow at the bottom and a metallic blue at the top. The painting was inspired by both Klimt’s “Judith” and a 70s photograph of my mother.
My mother also used to wear an afro back in the day. She appears carefree in this picture. She does not in later photographs due to the fact that the future course of her life turned out to be anything but carefree. After marrying my father, she was forced to withdraw into a purely domestic life, which gradually led her to drink alcohol out of frustration and suffering from her husband’s penchant for physical abuse. The painting to me thus represents a memento of my mother the way she used to be, though I never knew her like that. It is, as it were, an interpretation and artistic and abstract attempt at reconstructing the photograph and what it represents. I know my mother used to be a different person – more open-minded, cheerful, approachable but also shy – from what she told me about her youth. The discrete smile in the painting mentioned in the beginning expresses her shyness and insecurity.
The colour composition is principally dominated by a plethora of shades of red because red is an extremely emotional colour. My ambivalent feelings towards my mother are therefore also underscored by the colours in the painting. Moreover, the colours are meant to express the fact that my mother was such an emotional woman and formidable personality that she could never be captured in pale colours but rather requires both bright and strong colours to aptly and truthfully represent her on canvas.
The colour gradients furthermore constitute an intricate web of thoughts, ranging from very emotional to irrational thoughts. The gradients hence represent both positive and negative thoughts that are not clearly distinguishable. As it were, the colours at some point “leak” and begin to run wild and independent, like a great river fiercely running its course. The thoughts flailing around the woman not only are my thoughts about my mother but also hers about me. There is no clear-cut distinction. Her hair too is defined by gradients representing her thoughts as they come through from inside to surface on the outside. The thoughts have textures of white that represent the untouched immaculateness of the psyche. However, these thoughts and emotions already have a complexity that render them vulnerable and allow heavily loaded emotional structure to make inroads into my mother’s psyche. The predisposition for emotionality is suggested to be a destructive emotionality as well.
Since the woman in the painting depicts my mother, in a way it also represents me. There is always a cognitive and emotional preoccupation, and even identification, with my mother – especially as regards the comparison between my mother’s and my own youth. Questions arise as for instance, Were we somehow alike? Do we have the same psychological and dispositions? Are our thoughts and emotions the same? Do I act in a similar way? Is my own identity perhaps inseparably linked with my mother’s?
This preoccupation is strongly defined by thoughts swirling around and encompassing, even haunting oneself, which can become a heavy emotional load and illustrate the complexity of a mother-daughter relationship. To be part of a parent one does not want to identify with, but still must, in order to be able to understand and be close to oneself, is a fundamental human conflict and visually expressed in this painting.
The relationship between mother and offspring is the most intimate in life, according to psychoanalytical science. To deal with this sensitive relationship is therefore a fundamental human endeavour. It is an integral and defining part of our existence, and it remains with us, whether we welcome it or not.
Please note when ordering your postal address must be outside of the UK