Dana Phillips

MA Fine Art - Farnham


Dana Phillips

FMP August 2021

Exploring Melancholy & Loss

Creative mediums: Mixed Media – Family photographs, collage, poly-silk voile, rice paper, hand and machine stitching with gold and coloured threads. 

“Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time endlessly exposing them.” Annette Messenger

My art practice is informed by spirituality, mindfulness, psychology and a creative exploration working with my historic family photographs. The work seeks to ‘bring the person back to life’ through art, uncovering, unpacking and contemplating layers of the past. Through conceptual thinking, it explores memory and investigates spiritual realms and consciousness. Using clarity, luminosity and transparency, the images capture feelings of emptiness from the past, moving them to love and compassion, and transporting the images into other conceptual surroundings.

My interest is as much in the process of inquiry, through making, meditating, contemplating, reflecting and documenting the finished piece. I have experimented with personal family photographs, researching my maternal side going back six generations. I sense my family members, and they feel very present in each image. With past explorations, the fabric brings warmth and movement to the imagery, a natural flow and fall with the voiles, as they suspend in the air.

The evolution of the work is about presentation, and scale brings presence to the images for the final project. I express ways of freely combining my family photographs, with fabric and threads at a life size scale. There is something very moving about the presence of life size images in succession in the final piece, ‘Through Time’, creating impact and reflective thought for the viewer. The images have been printed onto sheer voile, lined up in front of one another. When looking from the front, the viewer sees through six generations of my family. The photographs of deceased family members are digitally manipulated; from the waist down their bodies fade to nothing, giving an ethereal quality to the voiles.

My research and inspiration is from artists such as Cindy Steiler, Lisa Kokin and Annette Messager. My ongoing art practice formulates ways of self-expression; responses to materials, non-verbal communication, giving my art a ‘voice’, peeling the layers of time, organically unfolding and unravelling my past.

“We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.” Sylvia Plath,1962

The work has developed and strengthened over time, exploring different media, materials and scale. Texture engages with and activates memory through paper collage, acetate, voile, rice paper and stitching on leaves. The nature of the threads imitating fine threads of connection, creates a dialogue between art forms. Seeking to bring my deceased family  ‘back to life’; these memories through art strengthen the bonds and connections for generations to follow.

For further information and images please visit www.danaphillips.co.uk

Scroll for more icon-down-arrow

Dana Phillips | Fine Art 2
Forget Me Not
Dana Phillips | Fine Art 1
Family Album