Rachel Goodison

My practice is rooted in the figurative. I like to use fluid, abstract marks to create an impression of volume and body, often photographing these marks and collaging them into new works. My aim is to create an unsettling atmosphere of disquiet, playing with the ideas of presence and absence, fantasy and reality. I often use the image of the silhouette, to explore our ability as humans to experience different emotions or embody different identities at any one given time.

I am also fascinated by play, in particular the play of a young child. This playfulness can be imaginative, and joyful; it can be utterly absorbing, it can dispel anxiety and have healing qualities. To me, the free play of a child is also very close to the creative process of an artist, as the paediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott stated in his seminal book Playing and Reality (1971), ‘It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality.’

Child’s play can also be quite dark. It is this contrast between playfulness and disquiet that, to me, embodies what it is to be human – at once absurd, joyful, light and dark. In recent work, I have focused on three-dimensional objects, working with everyday materials and found objects, such as knitting, sweets and pins, encouraging people to see familiar things in a fresh light.