Exhibition September 9 to October 9, 2005
Opening Friday, September 9, 6pm
Artist talk Friday, September 9, 6:15pm
The Myth of Sexual Loss is based upon the photographic exploration of the ageing sexual body. The work explores and challenges the ideology surrounding sexuality and the fear of the ageing body that exists within our society. The overall approach is one of intimacy and sensitivity towards the subject, whilst aiming to develop an aesthetic style which does not sensationalize and respects the integrity and privacy of the subject.
We live in an ever-increasingly receptive society where our attitude towards sex and ageing is still one of taboo and denial. When we reach a certain age we are put into a category of non-sexual beings. Love and sex are both physical and mental activities that should remain a healthy option, if not a more important part in later life as in youth.
The initial idea came from my time spent as a carer in which I realised that intimacy and sensuality is a very personal and individual affair. We all have our own passions and desires and they stay with us till the day we die. My past experiences as a nurse enabled me to communicate on an in-depth level with people aged 60-90, and has provided me with an invaluable insight into later life. This has prepared me as an artist to visually challenge the mythology surrounding sex in the later years.
The body of work allows the composure of the aged body in some instances to seep through onto other levels of photographic representation, one that borders on the iconic. However, the visual structure of each image creates an integral element in the reading of the work. Using a tight frame the subjects are made to become more intense, yet calm, and at some points disorientating to the viewer. Therefore, the onlooker is intrigued by the significance that the image presents, and then subjected to the implications of the outer margins that each piece considers.
Karen Brett is concerned with social and non-social behavior. Her photographs are people orientated and explore challenging issues that are concealed from the public eye. She is interested in the unseen, exploring behind the scenes, addressing a private moment and aiming to express it in a way that is moving and non-judgmental.
Her work to date has explored mental health, domestic violence and intimacy in the third age. In addition, she has explored other aspects of health through commissioned work in hospitals. Her approach is one of attention to detail in research as well as personal involvement with the subject matter, resulting in work showing underlying emotions that demand a response. Since 1997, Brett has been exhibiting her work across Europe, in solo and group exhibitions. (See www.karenbrett.com for more info).