Great Expectations…

“On this day of the year, long before you were born, this heap of decay, stabbing with her crutched stick at the pile of cobwebs on the table but not touching it, was brought here. It and I have worn away together. The mice have gnawed at it, and sharper teeth than teeth of mice have gnawed at me.”

Our collective theme for the spring show was to create a response to a non-visual art form. Heavily inspired by the novel ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens I created a diptych that encapsulated the notion of decay, a theme that is imbedded in my personal drawing practice.


The narration of Great expectations explores the characters being referred to and being compared to inanimate objects to describe their physicality and appearance. This motif that Dickens uses explores the characters personality through a physical representation, in lieu of providing the character with an inanimate object that resembles more than a human being. My pieces depict a representation of both the character Miss.Havisham and the house in which she inhabits.

The plot of the novel is extraordinarily tangled and intertwined; this automatically influenced me as my practice revolves around the entanglements of intangible knots. Through a process of dramatic symmetry Dickens creates a fascinating motif of doubles that carry us through as a reader. The elements both mirror and double the knotted relationships that are all interlinked with one another. There are two convicts within the novel, Magwitch and Compeyson, two convalescents Miss Havisham and Mrs. Joe and two young ladies of which are love interests of the main character Pip.  My pieces are a clear reflection of Dickens technique, as a pair my drawings explore the notion of mirroring and paralleling quality. Choosing to produce a diptych on purpose to convey this technique of symmetrical juxtaposition that Dickens so carefully imbedded.

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Dickens creates such an intense Gothic theme within Satis House; it shatters all illusions and romantic preconceptions that Pip had about the upper classes. Miss Havisham’s wedding dress has become an ironic symbol of both death and degeneration. This fuelled my practice and really influenced me to create my diptych, using symbolism and psychical representation. The room that Havisham occupies highlights her past, the wedding dress and the wedding banquet on display explores her resistance to alter anything after being stood up on her wedding day. Her persistence at living in such a decaying environment explores the depths of her twisted and warped character. The dilapidated stones of the house, as well as the dust and darkness of the place that Miss Havisham inhabits explores her destructive nature and how she has allowed both her house and herself to decay and deteriorate.

As a reflection of the narrative to this prose my pieces are a reflection of Miss Havisham’s decaying identity. Each piece demonstrates fraying fisherman ropes. I have produced my works from my own photography. The knotted representation explores the time in which Havisham has left both herself and the room in which she inhabits to decay and decompose. The objects embody the time itself, highlighting the withering and natural process of decaying.

Each piece conveys its own identity, through the exploration of line.  The subtlety of the pencil and graphite medium allow the ambiguous and metaphor meanings speak for themselves. It conveys both the notions of identity and that of a psychical representation. My works can inhabit and explore ambiguous spaces and hold a double conceptive meaning- exploring the literal physicality of the object and its suggested metaphors.

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