Touch-me-not was commissioned by Procreate Project and funded by Arts Council England. The work is about skin and the ageing process, touch and body politics. Drawn from a personal experience, the artist used seborrheic keratosis to investigate the relationship and representation of the female body during and after the postnatal period. For her this ‘skin growth’ had been caused by stress the skin had undergone during pregnancy resulting in premature ageing. Suddenly, once touchable skin had become untouchable, rough and unsightly.
The photographic portraits of her torso affected by seborrheic keratosis were projected onto a tablecloth and re-photographed. The introduction of the tablecloth into the work’s imagery relates to family history, as the Irish linen came from her grandmother. (There are suggestions that seborrheic keratosis could be hereditary). The lace of the tablecloth becomes embedded into the skin adding a further textured layer. The final diptych of images was screen-printed using thermo-chromic inks. The ink responds to heat: when touched an imprint of the hand may be left fleetingly on the print. Latex examination gloves should be used to touch the ink surface reinforcing suggestions of clinical examination, and an untouchable status.
The Touch-me-not plant is associated with the treatment of vaginal and uterine complaints, inflammations and skin disorders.
The artist collaborated with print-maker Lucie of Hex Prints and photographer Martin Urmson.