Patient, 1996, oil painting on canvas, 180×150cm

Patient was made during an artists residency between 1995 and 1997 at Brockhall Village, Lancashire. Brockhall Village was being developed from a derelict mental asylum into a luxury secure housing estate by the property tycoon Gerald Hitman. Brockhall Village was built in 1904 as an Inebriate Women’s Reforatory, and closed down in 1992 as part of the conservative governments care in the community programme.

During this residency I lived in the nurses quarters of the site and had a studio in the old Laundry Building. I gathered medical notes, x-rays, and other ephemera and detritus that had been left on the old site or was being used as part of the buildings programme. I utilised these objects and documents to create this painting, together with interweaving stories from my personal history and the imagined histories of the women who had been residents of the Inebriates Reformatory.

This painting shows the back of a contorted female torso. The back bone exposed of flesh is pulled together by a decorative corset. The painting is monochromatic referencing the x-rays that have been used as source material to create this painting. The background of the painting has been built using construction fencing as a stencil, its linear quality suggesting the passage of time.

Patient (detail), 180cmx150cm, oil on canvas, 1996

The x-rays used for this painting were of a highly deformed back. The x-rays were found housed in a building where a doctor had resided. The hospital which had originally opened as a reformatory for inebriate women also served as a hospital for people with severe physical as well as mental disabilities. At the time I made this painting, I was working as a life model. I would use mediative techniques during life modelling to cope with the pain and physical endurance that was needed to sustain long poses. Patient refers both to my time when I worked as a life model and also play’s with the notion of the patients as a conglomoration of ghosts.

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