Halfway through her third year of her Manchester School of Art undergraduate photography course, Alice Goad is a multidisciplinary artist who enjoys a self-described ‘hands-on approach’ to her practice. It would be easy for Goad to use this degree to focus primarily on her work as a photographer, but instead, she uses it as a means to incorporate other mediums that she enjoys and excels in. When you delve deeper into her selected works, you see not only evidence of this, but also of a constant flow of creativity that does not just use photography as a base but intertwines and imbeds it, along with other mediums, into her processes. Distancing herself from modern-digital techniques, Goad uses more traditional methods of photography, preferring to shoot on film and do her own prints within the darkroom, honing her technique over years of study. Combined with her use and understanding of other disciplines such as painting and performance art, Goad has built up a portfolio that boasts many different talents but also demonstrates her specific style as an artist.
In her most recent project, Goad uses photography as a tool to visualize the trauma of an operation that she had when she was a baby. Photographing herself using a medium format camera and a cable release, she is able to create self-portraits with props as aesthetic signifiers to explore the complex feelings that come with living with the knowledge of something that she can’t even remember. Artists such as Jo Spence, Ana Mendieta, and María Evelia Marmolejo have inspired Goad to explore this event through the use of her own body in a performance-like piece. Alice explains how she feels disconnected from this event but is aware of the effects it has had on her family and the people she loves:
“When I started the project it centered around the idea that my transplant had physically happened to me, but not emotionally. I have no memory of what happened as I was a baby, so it’s almost as if it didn’t happen to me, but to the people around me. Covering my face, but bearing my body to the viewer is a way of visually translating these feelings.”
These images are uninhibited and truthful – they come from a place that is hidden even from Alice’s own memory and therefore demonstrates her vulnerability at this time through her references to birth and a lack of remembrance, crawling through a slashed canvas and a gown concealing her face. However, in being so open and transparent the images become incredibly empowering, through this project she can take back ownership of something that she has experienced but does not remember with such bold and raw honesty. Goad allows the viewer to be a part of this intimate narrative on something that is deeply personal, and in doing so this project shows us the power that art can have in regards of ‘coming to terms’ and expressing things that may be difficult to address in just a normal day to day life. Opening up this discussion through her work, there is now a platform to communicate about these traumas and the impact they can have.
You can find more of Alice’s work on her Instagram @goadalice or on her website.