psychology, often depicting masks and mirrors; one piece we find just a little poignant but seasoned with a dash of humour is Oops, where the mask drops… What are the women saying with this imagery, and with the hands that often reach from behind them and out of mirrors, grasping at them or offering gifts?

AD: Oops is innocence and a little bit of shock that her disguise has been revealed. Mirrors are the revealers of masks. Hands are the intrusion of others whether touching or making offerings. In For the Want of Chocolate she is willing to give everything for the bribe, even though she is conflicted with herself and has taken measures to secure her safety.

SDk: And is there a comment on society-writ-large, or even on the political, in other pieces, for example, in Civil War Circus – or would you regard this particular work as another depiction of personal psychology, expressing the “wars” we fight within ourselves regarding our own fragmented personalities and identity struggles?

AD: Civil War Circus is really about divorce, the very delicate balance of any relationship, and the ambiguity of the image one projects. The hands in this instance are an unwanted presence but an unavoidable instance. She carries a weapon for protection, a three-pointed hat to project humour, a contrary mix of clothing to show indecision. She is what she needs to be in order to survive.

SDk: Remaining with Civil War Circus, what is it that’s hanging from her left hip, and what is the significance of the candle at her feet? We’re fascinated.

AD: The remnants of another mask; she is slowly revealing her identity. She carries her trophies on the board around her waist. She is a theatrical being, the candle is just the stage light; it is used to mark how far you could go toward the audience. It is also a protective element – one always needs to know there is a light and a limit.

SDk: There’s a circus theme to many pieces, and perhaps similarly to how the metaphysical and personal social–psychological themes interact, so too does the circus cross over with other imagery. Can you shed light on the significance of the circus and its thematic interaction?

AD: Yeah the circus thing. My wife is of Romany descent. When we were first married we rescued an old horse-drawn gypsy carnival wagon from a farmer’s field; this wagon had belonged to my wife’s family. It was the Patience Lee swing-boats and gallopers wagon; this was the wagon they would have lived in, other wagons would have been used to transport the equipment. Lee was my wife’s family name, and they used to travel throughout Europe setting up carnival rides such as swing-boats and gallopers, more commonly called carousels. It was in the wagon we rescued that my wife’s great grandmother was born during a particularly heavy crossing of the Channel from France. SDk Interview with Alan Daniels continues in a popup window.

Art - Oops by Alan Daniels