Paula Rae Gibson/ Kit Downes — „I Feel You“
♦ Born in London, Paula Rae Gibson took up photography in her early 20’s.She is self taught, leaning mainly on analogue and darkroom work.
♦ In repairing the object you really end up loving it more, because you now know its eagerness to be reassembled, and in running a fingertip over its surface you alone can feel its many cracks. — Nicholson Baker
♦ To describe Paula Rae Gibson’s work as imperfect would be to engage in gross understatement, and to entirely miss the point of why she makes her photographs. Her images are more than altered, they are distressed. Their surfaces have been marred and abraded. Whatever markers of perfection her subjects may have originally possessed have been written over by a seeming obsession with erasure and cancellation. These are anxious images, injured objects.The work is also riveting, stunning really, in its vulnerability, violent tenderness, and naked heartbreak. It’s catalyst was the untimely cancer diagnosis and eventual death of Gibson’s husband. This when their daughter was only 20 months old.
What tongue does trauma speak? What is the antidote for this level of loss? Gibson’s images are not palliative, they do not soothe, salve, relieve, or release. Instead, they capture the visceral anguish of loss, inscribed in a grammar where all nouns are objects of desire, and all verbs are executed as energy on the surface, in unrelenting signals of grief.
♦ Gibson uses the female body — most often her own — as a private language that is autobiographical and confessional. We are invited into a personal landscape where bodies and gestures are supercharged with meaning and significance, and offered a glimpse of a privileged vocabulary — an emotional shorthand, a somatic sign language.
♦ These images don’t feel like photographs, because details and specifics have melted and dissolved. They are images on the verge of self immolation, ablaze with raw emotion, where the photographic surface functions as a metaphorical second skin, making visible the wounds and trauma buried beneath the surface.
♦ Gibson immerses us in a song, a lamentation, an incantation attempting to conjure, reanimate a fleshy, carnal core. Finger, feel. Brush, skim. Graze, stroke. Caress, fondle, embrace.Touch. Hold.
♦ This is a strange, dark beauty. One made all the more piercing and seductive because it is written on the body. And these bodies, like chipped and misshapen vessels, are all the more beautiful because their surface bears witness to the marks of history. This wearing down is relentless and mournful, but it also reveals a wounded radiance — harmony, grace, hopeful resilience. Reminding us that nothing is perfect. Nothing lasts. That life and love is still, always, unfinished. Joseph Squier, Lightsensitive
♦ DIARY OF A LOVE ADDICT KEHRER 2005
♦ I’LL ALWAYS WALK AWAY KEHRER 2007
♦ YOU GATHER MY DARKNESS LIKE SNOW WATCH IT MELT,NOVELLA WITH ♦ PHOTOGRAPHS, BABEL 2011
♦ RAE EYEMAZING EDITIONS. 2016
♦ Adam Prideaux, Cork Street London 1998
♦ Serena Morton, LONDON 1999
♦ Laurie Frank’s Media Rare Gallery LOS ANGELES 2001
♦ Paul Kopeikin Gallery LOS ANGELES 2001
♦ Stephanie Hoppen London 2007
♦ Someone’s Garden Tokyo 2009
♦ PH21 Budapest September 2017
♦ ROTTERAM PHOTO FESTIVAL 2020.
on the other side: