Elizabeth Orcutt (b. 1963, UK).

I am an artist, and I live in South East Cornwall. 

My work explores my sense of self using photography. However, the portraits I make often dispense with my ‘likeness’. While digital collage is the cornerstone of the work, I also frequently appropriate various images, such as family snapshots, paintings, and silhouettes, also known as shades. Sometimes, I add my face to another’s image, and sometimes, I remove myself from a picture. Occasionally, I put a lens in front of the image to evoke a peering eye, while other images sit upon boxes to bring the space behind the image plane. 

I use a feminist research-into-practice approach, taking in New Materialist ideas, particularly the theme of ‘entanglement’, which promotes the hybridity of methods and collapses dualities like mind and body, subject and object. I define the work as self-portrayal. The catch-all self-portraiture is too definitive for what I do; the genre implies a fixed self as seen by another. Whereas my work is an active becoming, an essaying, a beholding; it describes my visual self-experience.

My influences are Helen Chadwick‘s incisive playfulness and Claude Cahun‘s fearlessness. Both are visionaries; both are inventive and rebellious, key characteristics of feminist art practice, summoning Hélène Cixous’ infamous laughing Medusa. For example, I have made self-portrayals in which I have tried out and tried on the persona of a ‘genius’ male artist, images which are audacious and critical.