The title alludes to light as a stain, a bleed that marks out the black and the void of shadow. Light falls from above and spills over the body, picking it out of the black. In the shadow world between the light and the dark, the walls and floor emerge – stained with age and neglect, decay.
Pools of light coming through black disrupt the void but they also create a new void – a blown-out portal into nothing – white light as freedom, pain, release, blindness, ecstasy, obliteration.
White light has a double edge: it illuminates but it can also burn. It gives life but it can destroy.
Stain and decay have been a preoccupation in my work for some time (In the blood, Ivy, Wormwood etc); evidence of the work of time, that everything will age and eventually fall away. This reminds us of our own inevitable demise, something that is sad but also comforting as it’s a destiny shared by us all.
Eventually we are all a stain of the past; our traces remain but fade and dissolve over time. Perhaps this is why cemeteries and gravestones appeal to me – they mark what is past and lost and allow it to endure for longer.
The naked female figures that inhabit the dark spaces of these works are illuminated by the light spill. They are pictured alone, isolated in the light fall, at once revealed but also self-contained and protected. The materiality of the space around is tangible, textural. There is a tension between the figure and the space, between the fragility of flesh and the hard surfaces of walls and floor.
The women’s faces are obscured, making it difficult to determine their mental state, though their postures within the space suggest emotion or motivation, and possibly a narrative beyond each frame.
Jane Burton, 2011
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