The Feeling Wheel

By Carla McRae

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"The 'Feeling Wheel' piece references a psychology tool by the same name that was developed in the 80's by Dr Gloria Willcox. It was inspired by Joseph Zinker's idea of the therapist as the artist and Robert Plutchik's comparison of emotions to colours. The tool is used to help people recognise and communicate their feelings, to develop emotional literacy. The wheel consists of an inner ring that corresponds to the six big core feelings: sad, mad, scared, joyful, powerful and peaceful. There are two outer concentric circles that are used to drill down to secondary, nuanced emotions that relate to the primary ones. My piece consists just of the primary feelings.
Unexpectedly, The Feeling Wheel piece, for me, ended up being the core of the body of work. It creates a kind of 'decoding' tool for the rest of the works, reading emotion back into colour and form. Most of these works were developed or made in lockdown - with meditive immediacy, to self-sooth, or with more planning, in a kind of nostalgic way, dreaming of times in spaces more vast. I think of each of these pieces almost like a musical note and, in showing them together, I hope that they hum together like a chord."
image credit: Mark Lobo

plywood, poly filler, acrylic paint