Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art

Artist Statement: Howard Arkley Portraits

These portraits were initiated prior to Howard (Arkley)'s death, and have become a representation of personal memory. They express the fear of forgetting so often experienced by the bereaved and related particularly to Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida. In Camera Lucida, Barthes writes of the aura of lost time and memory particularly in relation to the deaths of his mother and his search for the photograph of her that best expressed her spirit.

With the portraits of Howard I continue to make, it is a similar search for the picture that best expresses his essence. The idea of capturing a likeness is less important than capturing a memory, the essence of his character, realised by the punctum which according to Barthes is that part of a picture that stirs the memory and arouses the emotion. While memory is expressed in the stance, the mask, the costume; symbols of the character, it is to a greater extent in the actual painting of the picture that my connection to a companion, artist, collaborator and soul mate is realised.

© Alison Burton, May 2001.

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