“My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than intellect. The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos.”
Stevie Fieldsend’s signature visceral sculptures of viscous molten glass, torched wood and tinted tightly pleated textiles are steeped in the life force, the sense of self and the psyche.
For mira mira she skirmishes with beyond-body consciousness; the mystique, the magic, the allure, the catharsis of in-and-out-of-body experience. The exhibition, vibrating at the edges of the imagination, is named for the feminine form ‘mira ’ of the Latin ‘mirus’, meaning curious, marvelous, strange, wonder.
The portal-seeming wall works in darkened frames and fabrics that call up the luxe ruched gills on the underside of some exotic magic mushroom while spawning
flounces like surreal sexual organs herald the optical shimmer, the claustrophobic tension, the interstices, the fissures, the teetering, the delicate breakthrough and spill-over which triggers the threshold moment of psychological transitioning or submission or surrender and escape to elsewhere.
Her works conjure with the mental maneuvers, at once conscious and unconscious into the recesses of the psyche, the mind morphing along the hallways of the mind – like a latter day Alice – to a thousand windows of fancy.
“The body as storyteller: Below your mind… We use our minds not to discover facts but to hide them. One of the things that the screen hides most effectively is the body, our own body, by which I mean, the ins and outs of it, its interiors. Like a veil thrown over the skin to secure its modesty, the screen partially removes from the mind the inner states of the body, those that constitute the flow of life as it wanders in the journey of each day.”
The feeling of what happens
In working with this fascinating pleated fabric I wanted to highlight its magical, mushroomy quality and make work that evoked the wonder that I felt in working with this material. It reminded me of something you would find in Alice in Wonderland, with its trippy optical pattern and two-way shimmery colouration that pulses in the light. The two dimensional lines of the mira mira series melt into the third dimension, painting meets sculpture, verticality slips into other directions. Gold gives birth to satin blues and browns.
Perhaps a series of psychedelic portals to elsewhere, somewhere mystical… just as in Alice in Wonderland where Alice falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world and leaps through mirrors to somewhere else.
As I dissolve into my work, I become the textural gold surface, the internal blue and brown, the spilling out sag, the scorched boundary, the odd and beautiful, the pleated in and out, the weight, the gravity, the movement, the light, the joy, the pain, the tender, the sensual feminine, the ability to change – the impossible possible.
In creating work for this show, I am within it – the materiality expresses my interior while I construct it from the outside and bring forth my vision and body-unconscious, sensation and intention into something tangible.
Whilst I know that the work is made of a material that is not me – there is an alchemy that happens in the process of making where we become one and in turn transform each other.
It also conveys a feeling of exceeding boundaries, of being out of the body, the fissures between internal and external. The sensation of being pulled out of myself, the inside becoming outside. A maturation process in flux …
The tangible work shows my psychic space. It makes sense and brings meaning to my world. It tells me my story both conscious and unconscious through making, intent, bodily gesture, curiosity, imagination and materiality. I create my own personal magic alternate world where rules don’t apply, everything is possible and there’s a sense of timelessness. It’s where I get to return to the curious kid in me and play. And it’s this magical intersection of when daydreams become reality that reality is transformed…. to a personal landscape full of limitless possibilities.
Further Reading: Stevie Fieldsend on the making of ‘mira mira’