Shame, Shame, Go Away
Jess MacCormack, Self-published
Some nightmares are real because they actually happen. These become a part of one’s psyche, or, for Jess MacCormack, they become parts, plural. Having taken shape in MacCormack’s eerie and vivid personal memoryscape, a dozen or so voices and personalities are the chaotic protagonists of this haunting visual memoir.
The artist, who self identifies as having dissociative identity disorders, uses intense watercolour to render each of these unhinged, discrete actors populating their consciousness. Flamingo pink, smears of dark charcoal, and bright, blood-red darts collide to form faces, faces, and more faces, and they all look directly at the reader. These figures seem to literally detach from the page, their eyes each a terrifying tunnel drawing ever nearer.
Created by one of MacCormack’s split selves (or, in another framework, through dissociation), these paintings illustrate MacCormack’s gripping and disturbing memories. Each image is as lucid and unbearable as the narrative text that goes with. This opus refuses to obscure any of the nastiest and most soul-crushing effects of childhood sexual trauma. The contents are impossible to unsee and richly challenging to undertake. Shame, Shame Go Away represents a groundbreaking visual text that is hypnotic, brutal, synesthesic, and utterly unlike anything that has come before it.