Rebecca Burke’s experience with social anxiety and her coping mechanisms – pulling clothing threads and scratching at my arms and chest – are rendered in plaster and concrete. Alginate was used to cast an imperfect replica of her hands in pose implying that she was scratching at her arm. The imperfect casting process – with small bubbles in the mould were transferred into the plaster replica adds a further degree of anxious uncertainty. For Burke, her coping mechanisms distract from anxious thoughts and the panic these cause by shifting focusing to physical sensation.
The work is influenced by Classical sculpture and its idealised images of the human form, where carved figures are predominantly young, beautiful, and physically flawless. In making such a contrast Burke is
“playing against the classical depiction of the body to express ‘idealised’ and perfect human proportions and using its aesthetics to express a more honest example of the life lived by the artist and the inner anguish of a human being. My works are more than just for beauty they are there to tell my story”.