Fiona Blake is an artist who is a recent graduate in Fine Art from Cambridge School of Art. She worked for many years in the NHS as a consultant psychiatrist in Oxford and Cambridge. Her art practice is mainly painting in oils. She is interested in the collective experience, patina and the evocative place. She became involved with the Sound and Vision project as a result of her professional links with researchers exploring the experience of symptoms of mental disorders.
Condition: Parkinson’s Disease
This person sees strangers in his house no one else can see. Young children rush about damaging furniture and writing on the walls. He waves his stick at them in frustration and they slip away through the walls. They watch and talk but he cannot hear them. This work references El Greco’s ‘The cleansing of the temple’ but here the viewer drives the intruders out of the house. The sombre tones evoke an anxious and oppressive waking dream
Quotes from participant with Parkinson’s (for artwork “Space Invaders”)
“And to say, what is a hallucination, what does it feel like? It feels as though you’re very, very frustrated, and the more frustrated you get, the more you shake. And I try very, very hard not to lose my temper because that that makes it worse.”
“I’ve seen them writing on walls. I’ve seen the evidence on the wall when they’ve gone. The marks on the wall after the person’s gone. But nobody else does. […] And they don’t use doors. They’ll walk through a wall. And they don’t talk to you. […] They speak to one another, but they don’t speak to me. […] And it’s more frustrating because I can’t strike up a conversation with them, they’re not responding to your questions, or you know, ‘What are you doing here? Why are you doing it?’, etc. […] And [then] there’s some signal which I can’t hear or see. They just get up and saunter off through the wall.”
“And most of the adults in the hallucinations have some form of deformity. Whether it’s a hand that’s missing or a thumb that’s drawn longer than his fingers, or. Some weird deformity of that nature. […] Three fingers on one hand, and one arm that’s shorter than the other with stubbed fingers on each. No legs. I mean that one amused me no end when I thought about it. No legs and he walks through the wall. Clever.”
This person hates going out as he hears passer-by commenting on him negatively. He feels overwhelmed by such comments and so stays at home more than he would like. Even at home he feels that people in the trees opposite his home observe him by sending x-rays into his home. This painting aims to evoke the verbal assault my patient experiences whenever he leaves his home and the discomfort of being observed and criticised even at home.