Peer Review: NCCA Members Show 2016

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Pyjama Years : Surviving Anxiety, Depression and Panic

16.09.05.11.43.09.jpg9th September 2016, at Darwin Visual Arts Association, I held my first solo exhibition. I titled the show Pyjama Years, Surviving Anxiety, Depression and Panic.

“In watercolour, I have painted self-portraits of some of the imagery I remember from my Pyjama Years.
In the beginning I had Pyjama Days.
I felt down and just wanted a break from the world. I would take a day or two, collect myself and then get back to life. Days changed into weeks then months. I isolated myself, didn’t get the help I needed.
I hope my exhibition adds to the growing awareness and understanding of Anxiety and Depression.
This is my story, but it’s not unique, in Australia 1 in 6 people have experienced depression.”

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A suicidal thought,
Watercolour Mix Media,
560mm x 760mm,
Triptych
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Don’t panic, it’s all in your head, One, two, three and four
Watercolour Mix Media, 560mm x 760mm
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After ‘The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, by Francisco Goya’
Watercolour, 560mm x 760mm

 

 

Artist, Gaye Coyne opened  the exhibition
“Good evening everyone.
When Leah asked if I would open her first solo show I agreed without hesitation. When Leah talked about her show, about what it meant to her and finally shared the title: Pyjama Years: Surviving Anxiety, Depression and Panic I also felt very humble and honoured to open her brave, intelligent and above all heartfelt show.
Leah says Matisse is her favourite artist, and yet she so often references Goya… C’mon Leah, it was Goya who often wrote on his work yo lo vi: I saw it: it is real, when we look at Leah’s work we see she has lived these very real experiences and has successfully found visual equivalents using her considerable water colour skills.
Geogia O’keeffe said that she could express feelings through her paintings, feelings and experiences that she felt she had no words for, or feelings there are no adequate words for. I am sure Leah would agree with her in the main exhibition image Leah is emerging from between rugged cliffs out into the open, out of the shade and into the sun: the future all ahead.
Courbet used rocks as a metaphor for life’s hard times. The Dripstone Cliffs feel right. Munch, the scream, also favoured seashores in his work such as Melancholia, Dance of Life, however Munch had the past in the background and no future beyond just now: fashionably “in the moment” but then Munch’s angst was love based, unrequited : he had the blues big time.
We all have the blues from time to time: a touch of melancholia can almost sound romantic for an artist But life threatening, life stopping you in your tracks, illnesses of Anxiety, Depression and Panic can individually steal years from you: all together it takes great courage and stamina to seek help and keep working day in and day out to live your life And it takes bravery to discuss your illness. In the work place it is still a difficult decision to discuss ongoing mental health illnesses such as being bi-polar with HR staff and colleagues.
There is still much to do. Yesterday was RUOK day and tomorrow is suicide prevention day; Leah has chosen the dates of her first solo exhibition to help raise awareness. Thank you Leah and congratulations on a strong, courageous, wonderful debut solo exhibition.
Enjoy your night Leah. ”

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Anxiety Tamed
Watercolour, 560mm x 760mm

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The ants…one green as a leaf, and living upon trees, where it built a nest, in size between that of a man’s head and his fist, by bending the leaves together, and gluing them with whitish paperish substances which held them firmly together. In doing this their management was most curious: they bend down four leaves broader than a man’s hand, and place them in such a direction as they choose. This requires a much larger force than these animals seem capable of; many thousands indeed are employed in the joint work. 

Joseph Banks

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It’s too loud in here
Watercolour, 560mm x 760mm
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Walking through Dripstone Cliffs (small) Watercolour, 297 mm x 420 mm
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Walking through Dripstone Cliffs (large) Watercolour, 560mm x 760mm
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Returned, my sense of wonder
Watercolour, 560mm x 760mm
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Self-portrait with Joy Hester’s ink drawings
Watercolour, 297 mm x 420 mm