Artist of the Month: Corinne
This month we’re looking at the work of Corinne – an artist working mainly with photographic self-portraiture. Drawing inspiration from dreams, nature and Victorian photographic techniques, Corinne’s work has a fantastical quality to it – reflecting both her ongoing struggles with mental health and desire to overcome them through artmaking.
Corinne’s photographic series A Bedtime Story (2020- ongoing) was produced in response to the debilitating effects the pandemic has had on her already fragile mental health and became a way of coping with increased isolation due to being bed-bound.
As in all of Corinne’s work, A Bedtime Story was created in the 2 x 1.5 metre space of her bed. Through positioning a camera on a tripod above the torso and using a timer to get into position the resulting photographs are intimate yet also mysterious. Corinne often refrains from including her face, stating that “even though it’s me, I could be anybody’’.
This sense of possibility is emphasised through the natural and otherworldly imagery that Corinne incorporates into the work. Birds and butterflies become symbols of escaping the confines of the bed, and the daisy, whilst evoking similar desires to be within nature, is also the name of Corinne’s imaginary childhood friend and so provides a source of comfort. The image of the key or keyhole on the other hand stems from a recurring dream, whilst the spiders represent the severe pins and needles Corinne suffers from which she says “…often feel like insects are crawling on my skin”
Favouring black and white photography over colour, the resulting C-type prints are hand-tinted afterward with oil and watercolour which enables Corinne “…to add further layers of emotions and pain until the image is born, alluding to the tactile and sensory nature of [my] work”. This combination of the real and the artificial/fantastical also extends to other aspects of the work – namely the use of hair.
In speaking about her piece, A Bedtime Story #10 Corinne explains that due to her hair pulling disorder (Trichotillomania) “The placement of the plait within the casket-like shape drawn upon my body, helped me mourn the loss of [my] hair…I constructed this plait from both real hair I’d lost (which I’d kept) and synthetic hair from wigs”.
In working through her struggles, these distinctively dark and evocative self-depictions reflect Corinne’s ongoing struggle with mental health and the desire to overcome her situation. “My life and art have become inextricably entwined” Corinne says “to bury my struggles deep within would allow them to thrive, but through my use of art as therapy, I’m offered a cathartic release”.
One of Corinne’s works from A Bedtime Story series was recently included in The New Art Gallery Walsall’s Twenty Twenty Collection – a collection of new works by 30 West Midlands’ based artists, and their individual responses to the significant events that shaped 2020.
Corinne was also included in Unable to Think Without Touching at the ORTUS.