In the art of Russell and De La Riva, the viewer feels the joy and pain that pervades all relationships. It is an art in which all elements of their subject are exposed, as well as hinting at the passion, the torment is also laid bare for all to see. The newly commissioned piece ‘I do not understand my own actions’ focused on the patterns of behaviour that become habitual in relationships. The piece embodies the conflicting emotions that exist within a relationship referencing lust and tenderness, anger and frustration. The repetitive nature of the piece imitates the cycles in which we as couples experience these emotions. The presence of jumbled text beside the line drawn moving image and the intermittent use of sound contribute to the sense of confusion and torment being conveyed by the subjects.
As artistic and domestic partners Russell and De La Riva are able to draw on elements of their own relationship in the development of their art. However, the work is not a narrative of their shared relationship. Their work recounts the universal experience of being in a relationship with another human being. They are intrigued by the reciprocal ambivalence that is commonplace between couples and their work constantly responds to the fundamental question; how do people exist in relationships?