Charlie Lewis Marffy (B.1989, England) is a painter, writer and researcher from Exeter, Devon who lives and works in London. Charlie attended Exeter School of Art and Plymouth University before The Royal College of Art. Charlie has held residencies in Holland (2015), Cuba (2015) and Singapore (Most notably at the Institute for Contemporary Arts).
Charlie Lewis Marffy
CS Lewis - “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.”
CS Lewis also noted that bereavement created fear. After the loss of several close family members, I was full of fear. That fear had companions - confusion, anger, pain and often bouts of insomnia. My solution to these imposters wasn’t accredited. I hadn’t read the leaflet.
Feeling perhaps further from myself than I had ever felt I concluded that this must be exacerbated. A sure-fire path to content. I sought out a wider range of entirely new cultures, peoples and languages. Some experiences were invigorating, some dangerous.
In all these unharnessed rambling trips I did become more and more removed from the reality I had once known. In some ways this was directed by my own desire to learn but there was a much darker cloud hovering. One much more serious and time consuming – Mental Illness.
Everything begun to blur, nothing sat still, everything was an option. Things became less tangible, objects deformed, sentences were incoherent and jumbled. At various junctures I became well versed with liminal spaces i.e., Cells, Wards and Transport.
After my subsequent and lengthy recovery and with these spaces in mind I began to build visual stimuli in response to the thoughts, manifestations, ideas and feelings they had ignited in me. The content grew healthily away from self.
Although I was keen on building a visual language free-associatively. There were cyclical considerations to be made. The interactions, networks and idiosyncrasies I had been appropriating began to link to ideas surrounding semiotics, linguistics, mind-mapping, world building and rule-making.
I used the structures of the places and environments I had found as a border for reordering a visual language to suit what could be called a new altered sense of sanity. I began to explore the relationship between language thought and reality.
In reflection of the more serious aspects of my illness and in line with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s assertions that in bipolarity you are capable of being true, false and perhaps neither in proposition. Wordsworth declared that the creative process is made in tranquility after the original moment of feeling has passed. I've only come to this realisation with age. This project on illness was essentially for understanding my own fallibilities and protecting against them.
It is rowing a boat to intangibility and the indescribable. With a steadily expanding artillery of reoccurring and amalgamating metaphor, motifs, line and shape. I am building a painterly language that could refine elements into a perceived universality.