Artist Statement

by Bridget O'Malley
June 2004

The goal of any art is discovery. For me its is discovery of self: physical, spiritual, emotional, personal, sexual, intellectual. These interdependent and inseparable elements build the whole which is but a small part of a greater whole.

My imagery is visceral and personal in nature; biomorphic forms which originate as raw feeling and emotion in the subconscious and worm their way out through dreams, doodles and mind flashes. Some are precious and delicate, others, brutal and raw. In some way, all are cocoon-like beings; things which contain, sustain, nourish and protect a fragile life force. Mine.

The relationship between paper and print is one that is especially intriguing to me. Too often, paper is used simply as a substrate on which the printed image exists. I wish to explore the many possibilities of designing and making paper specifically for prints, and conversely, designing prints which are enhanced and completed by incorporating unique handmade paper. As a paper maker, I am fascinated with sheets which go beyond the expected look of paper. I am drawn to surfaces which are quite un-paper-like and instead evoke rusted metal, stone, leather and vellum. These unusual surfaces beg to be combined with underprinting, overprinting and incorporated into finished artwork.

The finished object is secondary in importance to the act of doing and making. The most interesting part of the process is the metamorphosis which takes place as the idea evolves into object. This is where the true learning and self-discovery take place. Idea, text, image, surface, structure and movement are manipulated, balanced and interwoven to create two and three-dimensional objects, books and prints. The resulting pieces serve as records of this process. Right now I feel a connection with paper, books and relief prints; there is an ease, comfort and familiarity with these materials that allows me to work instinctively, and to capture the subtlety of each medium separately and in combination with one another.