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Morning Chores 

I've recently been researching the history of the wellness industry, particularly focusing in on how this exploded at the turn of the century. Due to growing industrialism, there was a rise in production of patent medicines, medicines that could be bought over the counter that claimed to cure all sorts of ailments – some of which you didn’t even know you had – often advertised in an extremely manipulative manner. They were typically ineffective, or even poisonous. Simultaneously, in retaliation to this, alternative cures gained in popularity, with experimental diets and sanatoriums cropping up over Europe and North America. Both of these tended to be marketed towards women, left desperate to find relief after centuries of medical misogyny, although hefty price tags made many for a privileged few, also leading to them being commercialised as luxury experiences.

A seminal reflection on this phenomenon is Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ inspired by her own experience of what would now be diagnosed as post-partum depression and the treatment she received for it. In the story, a woman is confined for weeks to bed rest, her illness progressing to madness as the yellow wallpaper comes to life. I was thinking about the description of the wallpaper as an ‘unclean’ yellow, the typically joyous colour dirtied. Here, bright yellow grounds are fogged over with grey scenes of servants’ hands preparing items for their employers, looking at the idea of receiving treatment for illness as a commodified luxury.

'Morning Ironing', 20 x 25 cm, oils on canvas

'Morning Correspondence', 30 x 40 cm, oils on canvas

'Morning Preparations', 40 x 30 cm, oils on canvas

'Morning Shrubbery', 50 x 40 cm, oils on canvas

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