"THIS BODY OF WORK"
"This Body of Work is an ongoing investigation into my inner workings and the unfolding of using my art practice as a means of healing. Like the process of rug hooking, I have unraveled and interlocked aspects of my life to better understand the entirety of who I am. I use a combination of abstract rug hooking and painting to create self-portraits that express the experiences of my body, mind and soul. I find immense joy and comfort within these mediums and deem them to be the best way to digest these often-uncomfortable concepts in my healing journey of living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (autoimmune disease of the thyroid).
I find rug hooking to be a great way to compile and honour the textiles of my life into my work. I have always had a deep emotional and tactile connection to textiles. From the lambskin I was gifted when I was born, my favourite blankets, hand-knit sweaters, the multi-coloured speckled carpet from my childhood home - they’ve all somehow supported or comforted me through everything I face. I hook intuitively, following no particular pattern, allowing for me to enter into a meditative space. I believe this energy is translated into the free-flowing movement of the rug hooked portions of my work.
Painting self-portraits allows me to reconnect with my physical body. Oftentimes, with the physical, mental and emotional discomfort that accompanies living with Hashimoto’s it can be easy to disassociate with my body. The ways I decide to portray myself embody the feelings of vulnerability I face living with chronic illness. In addition to reconnecting to my physical body, I try to channel and reacquaint with my inner child, as I consider her to be the best representation of my true spirit. She is free from harsh judgment, full of unconditional love and essentially untarnished from the influence of this wild world we call home. The dark, unruly rug-hooked gestures that appear throughout my work are a representation of physical, mental and emotional ailments that I experience living with my autoimmune disease. Simultaneously, they are a reflection of the inner shadow work I have undergone creating these works. These gestures are inspired by my earliest form of “art making”; black crayon scribbles I would make as a toddler. Within each artwork I create, I write a personal secret message in black crayon to commemorate the intimate moment I have with myself in creating these pieces."
Examples of the repetitive black crayon scribbles in Courtney Turner's childhood colouring books.