This set of 17 self-portraits in soft pastel emerged from an examination of my own path and presence five years after having my first child. After a long break from artistic production, I felt that I should begin from the main element of continuity in my work: myself.
For three or four months I worked for at least an hour every night, after the children were in bed, looking quizzically at myself in the mirror. I worked directly, drawing from the reflection that I saw in the strong fluorescent light of my studio: a harsh and intense light that accentuated the signs of ageing in my face.
Gradually I found myself becoming more compassionate towards myself, and realized that in important ways the person I was looking at could have been anyone. I became aware of the gap between the person's outer body and the passage of feeling, spirit and life within it. It seemed that the feelings I saw could have appeared on anybody's face.
The eighteenth-century sculptor Messerschmidt made a set of bizarre casts of his head in configurations of extreme emotion: a kind of lexicon of grimaces. In a similar way, what interested me about my own face (although not extreme or distorted) was the range of expressions of feeling that it carried; and the significance of my particular name and history receded. As I witnessed the passing of so much feeling through the body, I felt slowly loosened from it.