I am particularly interested in accessing places and parts of people that are usually more hidden or tucked away, and this is a theme that marks much of the work I do. For me, Bare has been about exploring human vulnerability, an aspect of people that is often hidden beneath the surface. It became, also, a project about the stories behind and the process of redefining it. The final work consists of portraits of strangers, each who volunteered to undertake in the process of exposing, confronting and redefining these vulnerable places.
The participants were asked to complete statements, such as ‘I am…’, ‘I hope…’, ‘I feel…’. These were framed with the intention that people would be lead to reveal something of inner importance, intimate, unusual, hidden or of which they were previously unaware. I found the statements fascinating and wanted to understand the stories behind them. One statement was selected and painted on their face and bare upper body as I invited them to lean into the emotions behind their words.
The final step in the process will come in the form of a exhibition, to which I will invite each participant to view the work for the first time. Seeing the portraits as part of a collective reveals how nuanced the nature of vulnerability is – a subtle blend of characteristics such as terror, strength, wisdom, courage, aloneness and grace. I hope that the project will invite all of its participants – including the general public - to engage and re-define their association with this aspect in themselves and others. To not only see it as a universal human experience, but something which can be a beautiful thing – and that sharing it can be a fortifying experience which can help us connect with others and transcend the fear we so often associate with our vulnerabilities.
More info: wrenphoto.com.au