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Paula Rae Gibson: Without You I'm Nothing
This series is about couplehood at its best, at its worst, showing decay where each other stunt each other’s growth and life force. It's about life: the birds and the bees, flying and getting stung. It’s about connecting with the voice inside our instinct that makes us need time to ourselves or makes us want to scream. It's about self-expression as if we allow life to overwhelm us; we get numb until we don't even cry or feel anything deeply. It's about letting go, finding self. It's about understanding that we have to remain true, authentic... or?
I used to think couplehood was everything: think being in love, finding someone I truly felt at one with, someone who completed me – that it was the only way to keep going. Life forces us to learn things we don't want to learn. I didn't want to have to learn to live without my husband, father of my child, but I have had to. When I lost my husband I felt like I lost my identity: no more WE, I felt like I had disappeared. Then I found another me: a me that lives in memory. The love we had really does not die, and it is a big part of what keeps me going. The new me I found can only give herself to another in chapters; it’s a me that is more whole maybe – or am I more judgemental? More mature, or maybe more smithereens? I wanted to evoke all these thoughts and feelings in this work, and strive to perhaps maybe inspire people to check who they have close to them isn't making them decay in any way...as it need not be that way.
These images have sprouted from things I have been witnessing these years: couples decaying in each other’s arms before my eyes. As if they feel it is too late to rewind, to untangle. People can be the very best and the very worst thing to happen to us. For me it’s creating art that allows me to digest what I feel, make something out of whatever it is, so it’s bigger than me, relatable, drawing the kind of people I want to as they can identify.
These images are about thirst and need and want and a terrible need to stay open, intimate with life, authentic and true, no matter what.
Paula Rae Gibson is a British singer, songwriter and photographer. She was born in London but raised in the countryside. It felt like quicksand for her and so she set up her only ambition to be as far away as possible when she came of age. She welcomed a job offer in Tokyo at the age of 17, which led to her going there for four months a year for the next four years. In-between other things she read a lot of philosophy in this period. Picasso's Blue Period awoke her love of art, and Keith Jarett's record “The Köln Concert” started her love for jazz. It took a car accident though and losing her spleen in Ecuador to make her realise that she could be in the front seat of her life and not feeling the dream was out of reach.
Photography became her instinctive way to process what happened along the way; she is particularly interested in the emotional world and the sub-conscience, in what makes us grow and what makes us numb. She mainly works with analogue technology and creates images, often retroactively treated with chemicals, in the darkroom.
Paula’s photographic work has been shown internationally. She has had four books published and several albums released. Emotion Machine, the result of her collaboration with pianist Kit Downes, will be released in Spring 2018 on Slowfoot records.
Rae, A Pictorial Love Song (2016)
You Gather My Darkness Like Snow Watch It Melt (2011)
I'll Always Walk Away (2007)
Diary of a Love Addict (2005)
Someone's Garden, Tokyo (2009)
Stephanie Hoppen, London (2007)
Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles (2001)
Laurie Frank's Media Rare Gallery, Los Angeles (2001)
Serena Morton, London (1999)
Adam Prideaux, Cork Street, London (1998)
Emotion Machine (with Kit Downes, to be released in Spring 2018)
The Pleasure of Ruin (Babel, 2012)
You Gather My Darkness Like Snow Watch It Melt (Babel, 2011)
Maybe Too Nude (Babel, 2008)
No More Tiptoes (33 Jazz Records, 2007)
To find out more about Paula Rae Gibson, click here: http://www.paularaegibson.com