BBC - Inside Culture
The Art of Crying

Mary Beard is joined by the Oscar-winning actor and screenwriter Emma Thompson to talk tears. Together, they dissect some of Emma’s most famous on-screen weeps and explore the role that crying plays both in art and in real life. Mary also receives a lesson from Emma in how to turn on the waterworks herself.

In Cardiff, artist Casper White reveals how two apparently different portrayals of crying – sacred paintings and selfies on TikTok - have come together to inspire his latest set of portraits, while classical musician and composer Alexis Ffrench plays a track from his new album, which explores feelings of grief. To make sense of all this sadness, Mary will discuss the history and cultural importance of crying with historian Thomas Dixon and comedian and podcaster Cariad Lloyd.

Release date:11 March 2022
29 minutes

crying online (TikTok) test installation at studio december 2021
oil on linen with brass candle holders and candles

This body of work comes from my interest in the history of portraiture and imagery made by the current super-online culture. my research shifted from painting a traditional sitter to portraying people from imagery produced and shared by others online. I found shared themes and imagery between historical works and posts from TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. 

The candle is a new element within my paintings. I have hosted candlelight tours of my exhibitions in the past, but these new works have a candle holder and candle directly attached to the canvas.

The candle can speak of the history of painting, there is also something interesting about the act of lighting a candle in front of an artwork making it a shrine of sorts. The candle also acts as a stand-in for the light from a phone, mimicking the person making their post on social media.