The Abstract & Surreal Artwork of Colleen D. Gjefle

I’m Afraid

2000 – Acrylic on Canvas – 8″ x 10″

I was afraid to face my fears and confront what was done to me. I was beginning to experience the cold, creepy feelings that I had avoided for so long – memories of how it felt to be touched in ways I didn’t want. The memory of my grandfather touching me is very similar to the feeling I get when confronted with a swarm of roaches.

Roaches – creatures that hide in dark places, create hidden swarms and carry a myriad of nasty germs – give many people chills. I see them as a modern equivalent to the demons that plagued the minds of dark-aged man.

In this painting I use the figure of a woman who is not me to be a substitute as it was too difficult to use an image of myself. It was (and still is) often easier to disassociate and deal with the abuse in the third person.

The position of the woman demonstrates the physical repulsion I was feeling.   She is blindfolded because she still does not want to see, but it also symbolizes how her identitiy was obscured as a child by her abuser. I now realize that roaches also scatter and hide when the lights come on but I was a long way from grasping that when I created this painting. At that time, I was just beginning to catch a glimpse of the horrors I would be experiencing if I continued on the path of confrontation.

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