“This exhibition is exploring the intersection of two planes of being; emotional and physical.
Diagnosed HIV positive in 1995, I had been been struggling to achieve and maintain a clinical goal of an "undetectable viral load" - the amount of virus in the body is below the measurable threshold. The onset of a chronic illness signals a constant battle for the body to simply stay alive. An entry into the Byzantine world of medical science.
The consequences of diagnosis on the emotional front were immediate. The initial shock and feeling that death was imminent faded relatively quickly as the reality of new barriers in everyday relationships were erected. First and foremost there was disclosure. Who to tell and how would this knowledge affect friends, family and lovers? The lover left first. He couldn't be blamed. The burden of turning into primary care-giver overnight was too overwhelming.
The spectre of a loveless life spent battling with an untreatable virus loomed. Gradually society seemed less attractive and the struggle turned inwards. The body changed under the stress of the drugs, becoming permanently disfigured. The possibility of ever finding another lover seemed increasingly remote. Cycles of depression and symptomatic illness followed, increasing an overwhelming sense of social exclusion.
Almost five years into this downward spiral an art commission was offered, "From Here to Eternity" (1989.) It was a turning point; to think of using my own body as subject matter to actually come to terms with its physical condition, to love it again. Art was not alone, some psychotherapy helped. Eventually by 2004 I was once again at peace and able to be open to the possibility of love, which arrived unexpectedly as "Love and Light" (2004-2009.)
Although short lived, and I was again on my own, this lover's focus on healing the virus resulted in shedding this burden. The burden of disclosure. And since then I've felt free. It's re-kindled my interest in love around me. After more than a decade of just thinking of the body as a medical emergency to be endured, its once again become a tool of personal pleasure. A casual sexual encounter once again introduces the possibility of romantic love.
Surrounded by stories of romantic love, I wanted to engage with them. To explore their depths using photography and video. "The New Pre-Raphaelites" (2007-09) was a starting point. There are lovers who have been lost and lovers who have been gained. Against all of this there are consequences on the body which are more easily documented than our sense of self-esteem. Consequently, what's at stake here is not only what we see and hear, but also that which is withheld.”