There are only a few days left until I have to pack up my work and install it at Homer Watson House & Gallery for my debut solo show, Of Wood and Water. I've been spending long hours in the studio finishing up the final sculpture in the series all about harmful mining practices in Jamaica's Cockpit Country (more on that in the next newsletter).
Today I'd like to introduce and talk about two of the works in the show, Loss and The Unsilencing. In comparison to the lightness and celebratory nature of the sculptures Spirit and Unfurling, Loss and The Unsilencing deal with heavier themes, centred around my experiences with depression and grief. Despite struggling with depression for most of my life, it wasn't until last year that I really came to terms with identifying as someone who lives with mental illness. It became clear to me that the vast amount of time, energy and money that I've poured into dealing with my depression and it's negative physical consequences has significantly shaped how I experience the world and how and why I make art.
In progress shots by Conan Stark
In Loss, I am exploring the grieving process through the weight and shape of the piece. While the heaviness evokes compression and collapse, I also hope to convey a sense of strength, beauty and adaptability through the iridescence of the beads and it’s shroud-like form.
While Loss is about grief and The Unsilencing about depression, both aim to acknowledge the interwoven complexities of these emotional states and act as meditations on my journey dealing with these emotions in tandem. In my experience, dealing with grief and depression simultaneously has been a confusing exercise in nuance. I have had to learn that grieving is a normal and healthy response to experiencing a significant loss, while depression is wholly unhealthy for mental and physical wellbeing. Since both emotions fall under the general umbrella of "sadness", I find myself constantly trying to untangle both emotional conditions in order to better deal with each one. In Loss, I am reflecting on profound grief, dealing with the death of my father and other traumatic life events. With this piece's central dark interior space, I am exploring the intensity and complexity of grief by focusing on the inner turmoil it perpetuates. The shape and colour of The Unsilencing are meant to invoke the physical consequences of depression, however, as in Loss, the piece also focuses on interiority and the curling inwards that happens when one's mental state is overwhelming.
In progress shots by Conan Stark
The Unsilencing focuses on the feeling of heaviness and curling inward as a manifestation of depression. The blood-red beads and slumped over shape aim to capture the burden of deep emotional turmoil.
If you'd like to see me in person, Homer Watson House & Gallery will be hosting an opening reception on May 12th at 7pm with wine and snacks along with a brief Q&A.
I am currently selling some of my jewellery at Crafted Artisan Market in Listowel and in their online shop. My jewellery will also be sold at Homer Watson house gift shop beginning May 7th and at The Clay and Glass Gallery gift shop in time for Mother's Day.
I hope to see some of you at the reception!