Carole West explores the unraveling of memory and time as one looks back at their childhood. How firm are the early influences of youth in determining our solidified identities as adults? This question also looks into the future, pondering about the grey unknown that comes with aging and infirmity. In a series entitled, Reliquary, photographic montages show elderly women masked behind lace curtains, as if caught in a slowly spun web. In a related installation from her Bachelors of Fine Arts thesis exhibition, a section of a dowdy old house has been neatly cleaved and mounted onto the gallery wall, displayed like an important relic. Two gridded windows face outward, illuminated by a light within. Similar to the Reliquary images, a human presence lurks behind a protective or imprisoning surface. The light alludes to a forgotton soul, an aged spinster who is molded into a spook and legend - the neighbourhood's witch in the minds of children.
Another body of work features large sculptures of knitted balls resembling disconnected synpases. Hundreds of colourful, neon woolen strands wrap around the sphere creating an optical vibrancy. The use of several intense colours compete to become the visual focal point, like numerous stray and deperate thoughts clamouring for attention, but never quite reaching the surface. West's work bravely and curiously imagines the deterioriation of the mind. Often, a sense of loneliness and quietude lingers in the work, but it is a welcome and thoughtful respite from the loud, chaotic expressions of contemporary artists dealing with identity issues in a fast-paced globalised generation. Carole West's work hearkens back to memories of a golden days, an era where a moment could stretch into forever.
Carole West is an Auckland based artist, recently graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design.