“We cannot speak other than our paintings. With a handshake.” Vincent van Gogh.*
Jessica Dyball, Cory De Muth and Jamsin Togo-Brisby reflect van Gogh’s strongly held view and sentiment in their group show at Jugglers Art Space [open until February 12]. How we tell our stories and how we hide the secret parts is what we are to the world. Our secrets become a dark place as we live to protect our image and relationships from the not-normal. We long for acceptance, love, justice and validation. Until we find a way of living with our dark sadness, bitterness, unanswered questions and pain – maybe never – we will fight not to stand out. Or we will fight. Or disappear. Art has that ability to take a reflective person into another world where some elements of the story begins to make sense, where the dark flickers as a light. The viewer and the artist are together attempting to make sense in whatever the artistic construct is. Here, these three artists from the Brisbane South Bank TAFE Dip Fine Art Graduate show 2012, have reflected deeply on their histories and personal narratives. Each brings well developed skills and innovative arts practices so that the exhibition as a whole and each individual piece has a strong aesthetic appeal. But the exhibition is more than aesthetics, more than decoration. This is an exposition of van Gogh’s text.
“My works is a response to my family history and a light on the dark truth of the early sugar industry”
“I am interested in the intimate connection between thread, identity, fashion, and the female body.”
Cory De Muth
“INTO THE WOODS… AND HOME BEFORE DARK” is a sombre and visceral portrait of childhood trepidations manifesting into a condemnation of psyche anchored to the past, putting adulthood on hold out of necessity.”
Jasmine’s ongoing inquiry into Queensland’s slave trade [Blackbirding] in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s found its poignancy for me in the brown sugar and resin skulls. Anonymous lonely deaths in a strange land with only remnants of family, familiarity and religious customs is an indictment on our white colonial past. Sadly, it feels strangely familiar. That Jasmine is also reflecting on her own grandparents as slaves captured from Vanuatu adds a deepening impact to the work. This project that needs ongoing exposure. Jasmine’s work was recently part of an exhibition at the State Library of Queensland.
Jessica’s fine charcoal, watercolour and thread works though beautifully rendered force us as viewers to consider a sub-text that emerges subtly from a haunting gaze, appearances of blood and an awkward stance. What is going on here, what are the secrets seeping onto the gallery floor?
Cory’s haunting and carefully crafted collages and drawings around the desire to stay in childhood is a fantasy tale with deep reflective elements indicative of a rapidly developing intelligent discernment around his own story. Young white Australian males are notoriously underdeveloped in their emotional depth as the older Australian culture continues to elevate strutt and machismo at the expense of reflection and vulnerability. It is usually as we cross the midlife crisis line that we begin to strutt less! Cory is speaking transparently and honestly with an skilful attention to detail here that is rare in young men. This does not belie his painful past or his lack of life experience. This work struck a chord with me and with more that a few viewers indicated by the almost complete sell out of his works.
Jugglers continues to be passionate about facilitating the health and growth of the core creative human spirit and to stand in solidarity with voices who call weakly and strongly to be heard.
[Quotes are all from artist statements.]