Thursday, 1 March 2018

Dementia Journey - D'reen.

I am pleased to say that these pictures have been selected for the Beverley and East Riding Open Art Exhibition. I would like to thank the curator and selectors for their help and encouragement.

 D'reen, as she was always called, was intelligent, thoughtful, kind and caring. Here is a portrait of her as I remember her, happy, alert, kind and intelligent. Sadly she succumbed and suffered from dementia. It started 9 years ago and has got progressively worse, and about four weeks ago she has had to go into a care home.

 Here is a picture of D'reen going away. It is rather conventional with the perspective focusing on the light. She is walking through shadows, a metaphor of her life. The autumn leaves suggest termination. Is she is heading for the black shadow or the light above. Will she turn the corner and get better. Is the road endless. A road sign mentions Zone Ends, does life end?

Shattered memories
Stained thoughts
Leaving reality

The finished picture needs to be explained.

Doreen is shown lying back, an element of perspective emphasises her downturned mouth. Her mouth is open, a large area of blackness, a repeating darkness. The faceted face is asymmetrical yet balanced. Her head is tilted slightly, indicating that her equilibrium is off balance.

The face is faceted the eyes open, yet unseeing, her hair falls onto tilted shoulders with another perspective element emphasising a slight diminution to the left hand side. There is something about the hair. It looks like it could be wings, a wing either side of her head. The Left hand wing is damaged, again a metaphor, yet also there is a finality about this, the damaged wing ultimately dooming the ability to feed and eat and survive. Stepping back you can see the wings provoke a suggestion of an angel. An angel flying away, flying higher, but that its damaged wing may mean that it cannot ascend quickly, efficiently, it needs to struggle to get away.

To the left of the head there is a linear conjunction of shapes making a line which touches and enters the upper forehead, here it stops, though there is evidence of continuity past the head to the right hand side.

The head has been hit, has been entered and damaged?

A bar has hit the head, and caused damage to the brain.

Below this bar, either side of the head larger shapes represent partial recall, memories of people who may be recognised as familiar, though not necessarily recognisable. Something about them is familiar, but what?

Is the flesh coloured triangle on the right hand side John the husband of 40 + years.

Above the 'bar' we see smaller triangular shapes, smaller memories, some are family members, parents and sisters, some are our dogs. But they are fading, they are in focus and organised but the next second the are discordant and confused. Some of the triangles lie adjacent to ones of similar colour making it difficult at first glance to identify where one stops and the other starts.

Dark shapes, black holes? Memory voids?

Occasionally there are flashes of much more distant memories, of people, of words, 'woebegone' mountains and lakes.

The shapes, mainly triangular, can be seen as delta shapes, a mathematical symbol of change, her representing change, deterioration and ultimately an ending. Standing back again some of these delta shapes combine to produce arrow heads flying away, taking away, taking memories away.

The shapes coalesce and some form slip planes, areas of structural failure, of memory weaknesses. Memories become darker and are disappearing off the edge of the picture.

Below the head Doreen is enshrouded by her comforter.

She is wearing her striped top which can be seen below her head.

The whole picture is made up of colours found in the face. The person and the surrounding memories are thus linked, are one, are shared.

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