‘Eros and Psyche’ and ‘Make it Last’ by Ciara Philips
The purchase of these two works was fully funded by the joint support of the Art Fund and the National Fund for Acquisitions in the winter of 2020/21.
In the darkest days of the lockdown, the Art Collection felt that the subject matter of these two works was of particular relevance: hands became particularly pertinent as coronavirus brought physical contact into sharp focus. Hands represent a source of comfort, but also a source of contamination. The works explore the concept of touch in a time when we are discouraged from touching each other or things.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, Ciara Phillips is a Canadian-Irish artist currently based primarily in Glasgow. Her first art degree was completed at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and she subsequently obtained a Masters in Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art (2002/2004). Her work exploits the traditional use of printmaking practices, taking much influence from collaboration and, more personally, the philosophies of artist and teacher Corita Kent. She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2014 for her work at The Showroom in London.
Some of the artist’s own words about these two works:
Photographic images of my own hands have featured in my work since about 2009.
The inclusion of my hands is a form of self-portraiture and as with much of the photography in my work, I think of it as a record of time passing, a body ageing. The works Eros and Psyche and Make It Last come from thinking about the experience of touch involved in the making of my artworks and specifically the varied forms of touch involved in moving back and forth between the press bed and the computer keyboard.
These two prints are made from scans of my hands that I recorded in the midst of making other works.
What is perhaps foregrounded on these works is inky fingers adorned with other signifiers – several rings and an elastic hairband around the wrist. The works’ titles refer more to the sensuous aspect of touch and allude to experiences with and connections to other people. The ring on my left hand depicts Eros and Psyche and is a replica of a Greek 2nd-3rd Century ring and seal. And although the rings on my right hand have no such imagery, the work’s title, Make It Last, is suggestive of a desire to hold on to something.
The works are currently on display on the right-hand wall as you enter the Pathfoot Building from the front.
They form part of the series of exhibitions entitled ‘The Art of Wellbeing’. View our events on our What's On page.