Damaris Athene’s practice explores corporeality and abstraction of the human form. Julia Kristeva’s writings on the abject fascinate her and she plays with the push and pull of seduction and disgust she speaks of, confronting our shared mortality and the notion of our bodies as pure matter.
In her work the body becomes unrecognisable, re-appropriating images from medicine, vastly changing scale or digitally manipulating body parts. Scientific imagery is imbued with emotional value and discussion is provoked.
The ‘Trauma’ series depicts bruises: delicately painted, contradicting their forceful and painful creation. The ‘Lovely in Her Bones’ series portrays radiology scans of various cancers. Athene is intrigued by the incongruence of the image you see of the disease inside you with the experience you’re having, and the inability to reconcile those two things. These ethereal black and white images further detach us from our own bodies and remove us from our reality. The beauty in these apparently abstract images seems at odds with their abject subject matter, creating an intriguing dichotomy.
‘The Pieces of my Spirit Strewn’ series describes odd fleshy forms in artificial sickly pink and heavy impasto. The kaleidoscope formation of the paintings nods to the digital age we live in, which mirrors our bodied back to us and alters our perception of them. A visceral reaction is induced, and curiosity captured. These paintings are enticing yet disgusting, beautiful but grotesque.
Damaris is the first of Wysing's Circuit Studio Artists, a programme which supplements the work of Circuit Cambridge.