Bernadette Behan - Artist
My artwork is a personal exploration, giving glimpses into fleeting internal states which might otherwise go unnoticed, dismissed or devalued. I assemble a few worthless, damaged seeming materials such as broken perspex, scratched and scuffed glass, torn, frayed cloth etc. which I then loosely construct a scene with. Sometimes this is abstract, sometimes with a moulded, opaque cloth figure, hardened using sugar water. I then pour, pierce, paint or flood the ‘scene’ with light (candle, torch, LED, desklamp) in order to transform the ‘rubbish’ into a more precious or mysterious collection of textures and tones. I then take photographs, (usually 35mm film though sometimes digital) and afterwards dismantle the materials.
In someway I hope to visually give pause, recognition and even honour and respect to temporary internal moments, especially those which could easily be dismissed by self or others, as somewhat messy, broken, difficult, too ‘dark’ or just impossible to verbalise. In part these represent the kind of states I used to feel had to be pushed away denied, purified or got rid of in myself. Now I am learning that the internal interplay, no matter how intensely uncomfortable and seemingly ‘wrong’ at times, is human, must be cared for and has precious life and energy in it.
Twenty years recovery from alcoholism, many intense silent meditation courses and many mental health struggles and developments, (including long term psychotherapeutic support), all feed into my artwork in someway or other, often unknown and ever changing. I often don’t have the energy to create but I do feel it to be a necessary, life giving and even lifesaving activity at times and hope, someday to help others find the value in themselves through artwork (even if it is making something out of how valueless we can feel!).
Some more about me and my artwork can be found on Outsidein.org.uk(on the Artists Pages and Artist of the Month September 2017)