Autumn News

Recently I completed a painting called ‘Narcissus’.

For a while I’d been thinking about how the story of Narcissus and Echo might translate into the modern world. There are different versions of the original Greek story, but the one I like the best has Narcissus, a beautiful youth, falling in love with his own reflection and unable to draw himself away from looking at it; meanwhile Echo, who has a crush on him, waits endlessly nearby and unnoticed, and fades slowly away until all that is left is the echo of her voice. In most paintings Narcissus is shown gazing at himself in a pool of water while Echo hangs around half-clad in the background.

For my own version, I felt that Narcissus was still alive and well in the Information Age, but was no longer staring at himself in a pool of water. I was struck instead by the similar concept of the ‘Selfie’ – the idea that the modern young Narcissus is now everywhere, fascinated by his/her own image, capturing it endlessly on mobile devices, and plastering it across cyberspace to be enjoyed again and again.  What does Narcissus represent if not an over-fascination with oneself? In the case of Echo, the improbably patient admirer, I decided to have her a little more bored – after all, who has time to wait any more in the Information Age? And she will indeed fade over time, as everyone does. But before she fades, she will leave digital echoes of herself everywhere across cyberspace as lasting fragments of her existence, as in fact we all will whether we like it or not.

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