Part 4- Continuing Creative Development for the Exhibition
Assignment 4 Review- Initial Exhibition Preparation
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
Exhibition Statement- “Help me as I am struggling to want to be here”
A Series of Material Statements-Visual Representations of Mental Distress and Recovery (2021) is a group of large-scale mixed media works using screen printing and hand stitching on vintage linen bedsheets. The material qualities of the vintage linen bedsheets and threads are indicative of and help to reinforce the narrative, to tell the story of mental crisis through therapy to mental recovery through their strength, resilience, robustness, and enhanced capacity for repair. The work is autobiographical in nature and depicts real-life circumstances emotionally through the textile artists experiences as a psychologist. The scale of intuitive relating with the materials in process communicate the scale of emotional resonance felt within the therapeutic therapy process itself as a psychologist. Throughout the creative process the textile artist sought to convey her own emotional experiencing, so others can look, to feel to understand something of such experiencing.
The vintage linen bedsheets are imbedded with meaning for the textile artist, of her family’s history based in linen, of a lineage, weighted with provenance, of generations of home and mill workers making linen, of layers of experiencing enmeshed within the material, of personal identity and belonging. The vintage linen bedsheets lent themselves to communicating the narrative, of previous wear and tear, of communicating a range of experiencing through a lifetime and the repetitive need for repair. Of the capacity of the vintage linen bedsheets to encompass pleasant dreams to traumatic nightmares, of bringing comfort, restorative sleep, and relaxation to unravelling despair and spiralling low mood. The aim then is to promote increased insight and understanding of the experiencing of mental distress and of the need for support, compassion, and time, to listen to understand free from labelling, judgement, and recrimination. To help counter the adage man’s inhumanity to man, to afford those struggling with mental ill-health the therapeutic environment to mend and recover. The visual representations from each series of screen-printed imagery with printing inks builds up layers of emotional relating and responding with the vintage linen using colour combinations to best suit the emotional state of either distress or repair. The imagery stemmed from original artwork based upon neural mapping as the basis of all communication and understanding. Ultimately the textile artist sought to express the increased propensity for change, growth, and repair, for positive transformation from mental distress. That said the series invites the viewer to reflect upon mental distress and recovery, of their own emotional response to the sequence and to consider how they can help themselves and others to be more tolerate, understanding, compassionate and kind both self to self and self with other.
The textile artist has utilised ten vintage linen bedsheets as the material basis of the creative work. Each bedsheet was dyed in varying shades of grey to match grey matter which is abundant in the cerebellum, cerebrum and brain stem and represents the core sites of cognitive functioning, information processing through neural connectivity. The original artwork for this project of work stems from research on neuro-networking from neuroimaging techniques to illustrate human identity and the sense of self at its most intrinsic level. Eight vintage linen bedsheets were screen-printed whole, and two bedsheets were cut up and used for the sampling processes through a process of building up layers of print to explore meaning and to demonstrate emotion, one series of three bedsheets represent crisis with print while the other series of five bedsheets represent repair and recovery through print and stitch. The eight whole linen bedsheets are wall mounted as well as hung from the ceiling as a central space to walk through, to fully inhabit to interact with from within the exhibition space.
Gillian Morris Textile Artist October 2021
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Visual Representations of Mental Distress and Recovery (2021)
Textile Artist Statement-Gillian Morris https://weaveprint.com/
Making textiles through print, weave and stitch represents much of my creative practice and creative life. I work intuitively with the materials in use to ensure respect for the cloth and the environment, to establish a form of reciprocal relating in action as I create. Given my studio practice is embedded within environmentally supportive ways of making and creating I intuitively react and respond to how the material relates to and with the print, weave, and stitch processes to ensure their qualities are best promoted. I prefer to use reclaimed, repurposed, reused, recycled, and found materials, to promote environmental sustainability with no waste including natural fibres, fabrics, and threads which includes wool, paper, cardboard, MDF, rope, string, cord, cable, and wire. Vintage linen represents one of my favourite materials and threads given its proven sustainability, strength, resilience and capacity for repair and recovery. My family have long had a strong affinity with linen as home and mill workers, so provenance is important to me, of knowing the place of origin or earliest known history of something that I am working with.
As a psychologist and a textile artist I am interested in relating and relationships within material use and throughout my professional work. Given the complexity of human relating I continue to investigate and reflect upon my own emotional reactions in creative process to evoke emotional responses in others when viewing my work. I like to explore the many effects of layering through print using a range of printmaking techniques and strategies especially screen printing but also ink jet printing, heat transfer printing and relief printmaking, woodcut, linocut, and collagraph. I visually represent relationships within an abstracted contemporary format involving emotional resonance. I work in a larger scale which stems from my own original mixed media artwork including sketching, drawing, and painting with hand printmaking alongside extensive sampling processes to create unique mark making for screen printing and/or stitch/weave. From the initial inspiration through researching my thoughts, and feelings alongside my findings and ideas, my artwork evolves and is translated onto the materials through print, stitch and/or weave as I continue to be open to how I relate with materials as this affects my creative outcomes. I use more of myself emotionally through personal expression to increasingly challenge the status quo, to address and respond to how mental distress is viewed, to raise awareness to generate discussion, to re-evaluate and reinterpret to help foster change in how dysfunction is perceived, to move towards telling a story which can be readily heard and responded to, for the audience to see and understand, to convey something which is important and meaningful through my creative process. The proposed project of work and related exhibition offers a new way of relating with the experience of mental health and ill-health to fully engage emotionally within a more immersive process.