Artist Information for Christine Chester
My work often reflects elements of life that interest me or involve me at the time. This could be as broad as a texture or process within my dyeing & printing practice, or as narrow as a thought about the futility of war. Much of the former work gradually gets built into a collection of fabrics and collage resources that I can use when I am working on ideas.
Most recently, my art work has focused on the effects of dementia on both the memory and identity of the sufferer and their families and carers. Within this work I often use imagery of my father, an inshore fisherman with many ‘fishy’ tales to tell. With the onset of his dementia, his stories became increasingly fractured, often repetitive, and usually without context to help create understanding.
Much of my work in this body tries to represent these elements through the use of metaphors (rust & palimpsest) as well as the results of the processes that I work with such as the fracturing within paper lamination, or the glimpses of under layers through the layer of monoprinted gesso. I have explored the language of ‘forgetting’; the relationship between memory and photographs; and the layering within both memory and identity.
Earlier work used imagery and memories of my father to express ideas about my personal journey with the effects of dementia on the family, whilst later pieces have become more generic and the Afterwards series speaks generally of loss as well as specifically about dementia.
Currently I am working with lace handkerchiefs and the embellisher machine to create a ‘traces’ series.Images scroll down to view all
Layers of Memory45" x 50"   Photo by Leslie Morgan
There was one thing my father never lost about his identity despite his dementia, and that was that he was a fisherman. Other memories faded round the edges, blurred, and were overlaid by earlier experiences. This piece, with its fragmentation, collaged layers, blurred imagery, attempts to express these ideas.
Palimpsest29" x 26"
Like the layers found in a fly posted wall, palimpsest offers glimpses and fragments of memories and ideas, whilst overlaying the whole is the graffiti impression of `Afterwards`. This is a double edged concept when applied to dementia patients and their carers.
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel41" x 41" x 5"
It is now thought that Lewis Caroll suffered from visual disturbances with his migraines, which are now known as Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Sufferers use the same language as Caroll did in Alice`s Adventures in Wonderland to describe these disturbances. This piece takes the image of the tunnel, and has a stream of consciousness disappearing into the unconscious and re-emerging as quotes from Alice.
Afterwards iii36" x 84" x 10"
The random marks made on a drop cloth are used here to represent the odd glimpses of memory which appear out of context and randomly in conversation with dementia sufferers. Overlaying all this is the repeated word: Afterwards, suggesting a repetition of days, some good some unclear.
Fragmented Networks55" x 51"   Photo by Leslie Morgan
Fragmented imagery, gradually becoming more confused and broken up. The netting quilting is encrusted with paint and paper adding a layer which slows down the memory recall and creates an idea that some memories are trapped in the breaking networks of the brain.