In my 3rd year at ECA I undertook a mirco-residency at Hospitalfield in Arbroath. Responding to the portraits hung around the extravagant environment of the Victorian Hospitalfield home, I created Lady (1840) a 19th Century style photographic self-portrait displayed on a lightbox, which was hung in the portrait room. Lady (1840) worked in opposition to the portraits that surrounded it; an ‘electrical painting’ of a black woman hung with oil paintings of white males. I responded to the reflective surface of the portraits where the black bitumen reflected light and obscured the figures in the image by using low-key lighting.
By making the work dimmable, I could control how the painting looked depending on the light in the room. When the work was dimmer, it blended in with the surrounding paintings and almost looked like a painting itself. However, when the work was brighter, it was clear that it was an intrusion of the contemporary in the Victorian space.
Adhesive vinyl mounted on opal acrylic fixed to a wooden light box