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Self Portrait in the Seventh Circle

Oil paint on found log

Oscar Marcus Boyle


Oscar Marcus Boyle

Content Warning: This artwork contains references to mental illness and suicide. This work references the artist William Blake's illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy, specifically the drawing 'The Wood of Self-Murderers'. In the wood (located in the seventh circle of hell) suicides (and those who have attempted suicide but did not die from it) are entombed in trees and tortured by harpies for all eternity. The artist presents himself as one such entombed suicide-attempter, rendering a self-portrait in the knot of a found log with his hair on fire (this references a series of burning tree paintings in the artist's body of work, and also a depressive episode where the artist set himself on fire). One of the artist's intentions with this work is to analyse some of the ableist histories surrounding suicide and conversations surrounding it. The artist considers the conversations he has about the work (including conversation on social media) to be as integral as the formal presence of the work.







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