Paradise Lost     (May 2020)

Giclee print on archival cotton rag. 111 cm x 77 cm

 

For the duration of Lockdown, a period of low-lying dread, the malign unknown threat of Covid-19 everywhere but nowhere, we sought solace in the forests of childhood, in and around the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the unashamed romanticism of the pre-raphaelite paintings of Millais and Waterhouse.

The forest is the antithesis to the city, a boundary of civilisation where the unconscious can roam free and seek refuge from institutional order. However the forest is a mirror to one’s state of mind, a schizophrenic sanctuary, beautiful but menacing, inviting but unnerving, anodyne and anxiety inducing at the same time. To lose your way in the forest is frightening, as it is to lose touch with your conscious and physical self.

The forest was awash with the beguiling spectacle and scent of bluebells, but as with the duality of the forest they inhabit, this sea of blooms contain toxic glycosides that are poisonous to humans. With Covid’s olfactory calling card the loss of smell, and taste and breath, our means by which we navigate the real world is under attack. We are being forced to restrain from the instinctual comfort of touch, to abandon our physicality and to embrace and inhabit the digital realm. The body has become toxic. Eve is toxic.The virtual world is our new forest.