Gravis is a solo mixed media exhibition by Chidzey that explores grief, loss and empathy. We asked the artist to walk us through it.
What concepts are at play in Gravis?
The intimate emotions and reactions to loss and separation. The grief process is one of those taboo subjects that I generally don’t hear openly discussed, which often leads to misplaced and harmful responses. Gravis will assist this to become more open, with the use of visual language being able to express what is difficult in words.
Grief and loss can be a fruitful area for artistic inspiration, but also a difficult one. How hard is it to present your own experience of grief to an audience?
Our family, like many, has experienced some significant traumas, and despite immersing myself in ongoing development of work for over a decade there has been little quality progress. That was until the recent extended illness of my elderly parent. During a two-week residency at BigCi in Bilpin, I was able to visit my mother’s birthplace, develop several temporal performance works, gather materials, and generally had a massive brainstorming session. To say this was both cathartic and profitable would be an understatement. Now, this expression of my difficult emotions will be shared, and should be shared with a general audience, both to assist them dealing with their own trying and often debilitating journey, but more importantly to show them they are not alone – that there are others willing and able to support and comfort during the hard times.
Are these emotions inherently individual or communal?
Both. I speak from my own story, so therefore these emotions are naturally inherently individual, but this is a shared experience of all humanity which we cannot escape, so my journey speaks directly to anyone in the community willing to listen.
What methods go into your work?
I always got in trouble for not sticking to and developing one particular medium, but that is just not me. My previous experience in casting and colouring in dentistry continually comes to the fore with bronze casting (particularly lost wax technique), and timber and stone carving. As well, I love to work in the land, using our wonderful natural environment as an intimate part of any artwork. These varied media are all on display with this current show, Gravis.
Gravis is showing at Gallery Red, Glebe from Friday August 15 to Tuesday August 26.