Her - Rik Rawling 2016I considered many titles for this drawing, but in the end settled on just ‘Her’. I’ve recently re-read John Burnside’s third memoir I Put A Spell On You and in there he explains his notion of ‘Lost Girl Syndrome’. In relation to the motif of the drowned girl that has appeared in art throughout the centuries, he argues that her death represents “the abandonment of that intelligent, stubborn boy’s full potential, as he reluctantly stumbles forward into the bluff and bluster of workaday manhood.” John is not impressed by “the sheer tedium of grown manhood” and argues that in order to be something like a complete human being then anima and animus must be present and symbiotically in balance. This really struck a chord with me, as I have all my life been haunted by the presence of my own ‘lost girl’ – an amalgam of my first loves at junior school, older sisters of childhood friends, and my own sister Victoria, stillborn three years before I came along, but  who became as real in my imagination as anyone I’ve ever known. I never really understood why, but the idea of her being a part of me that I’ve refused to let die just because I “grew up” is an attractive one, and all of these drawings and paintings I’ve done of girls and women down the years is perhaps me looking in the mirror for  hidden part of myself that doesn’t really want to be found, because once something is found it can then so easily be lost.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity


2 thoughts on “Her

  1. I seem to remember that when you were looking at your feminine self in the mirror during the 90s you would have had no trouble finding your parts! Titz ‘n’ gunz! I’ve been reading Burnside thanks to you, Rik.

    • You have a point but from this vantage point all of that work from the 90’s was done by a totally different person. I have changed completely, with every atom in my body having been replaced twice over that shouldn’t be surprising. I’d disown 99% of it but fortunately very little of it survives so I don’t have to. Burnside was one of the contributing factors to that change. I recommend all his memoirs and the novels The Devil’s Footprints and Glister. Even a couple of the earlier novels that he disowns – The Locust Room and Living Nowhere – are worth your time, but I didn’t like the others. Very interesting thinker though, and as I get older I find my own ideas aligning with his.

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