Exploring various stages of grief, the healing process and the steps which take us forward and the steps that take us back. It becomes a ritualised process in which you can choose to not heal and become stuck in a loop of pain and numbness.

Symbols of death hang heavy over head, claws holding a netting that blocks the artist from the viewer, representing a mental blurring and cloudiness from depression, throughout this piece it is seen that there is a comfort and displacement found within this netting. The process of healing is shown through red bandages, red is used for it’s association to injury and pain, the removing of the bandages and clothing show an attempt at healing and at moving forward. Dressed in a silk tulle garment, fabric that is so fragile it rips and falls apart with each performance, commenting on the fragility of one’s mental state and being during these times.

The need to stay connected to a lost one means avoiding letting completely go, holding on to the pain therefore the detrimental cycle begins again when the body returns to the netting.

Performance piece created for The Rituals, Ferguson Foundry, 2-9th September 2017.

Video of live performance below.

What Remains

The large scale series ‘What Remains’ explores personal grief and mourning after the death of a loved one, made up of individual embroidery hoops containing uniquely stitched fabric, the pieces speak to the viewer in a language they may or may not understand. Each hoop contains hand stitched words, thoughts, messages by the artist, submitted by anonymous individuals who opened up about the grief they experienced and their healing process from sudden or known loss.

By hiding their words and displaying the other side of the fabric the stitchings take on a new meaning, the lines and dots become a sacred text commenting on how internalised and private these thoughts may be. Each story is intimate and personal to the individual yet all the stitchings resemble one another, linking everyone together in the same process of healing and pain.

Black was used extensively for its representation of modern day mourning and that of the Victorian era, the ornate embroidery hoops and stitching generally invites the viewer in yet displaying the raw side places the pieces in a space of honesty and vulnerability. Each hoop sewn became a part of a cathartic ritual, giving a voice to the thoughts and pain we hold onto and don’t always share. The clear statement within this piece is no ones is alone in these situations, there are people by your side experiencing this alongside you.

Artwork created for The Rituals, Ferguson Foundry, 2-9th September 2017.

The Rituals

The Rituals was a night of artwork and performance art exploring sacred and personal forms of ritualism and the effects that these rituals have upon the human psyche as well as the physical body. The exhibition curated by Marijke Loosjes also showcased the works of four multi-disciplinary West Australian artists - Circus Carnis, Marijke Loosjes, Matthew Pope and Frater Sorath.

Rituals are a key element in society, religion and cultural events. It is their obsessive and repetitive nature that scores the actions, gestures and words heavily into the self - this drives the need to perform them regardless of the positive or negative effects for the individual. This exhibition looks specifically at the impacts of rituals on the physical body and the psyche, showing how far they can be pushed before the thresholds break.

Artist duo Circus Carnis present the body as a piece of meat, a spectacle of the ritual, to be manipulated but at the same time testing psychological and physical strengths. Using the body as an object, Matthew Pope explores ritualised marking and the relationship with the materiality of the tools that scar. Marijke Loosjes presents the various stages of the grief-stricken mind and in a cathartic process dismantles it for the viewer. Through evocation Frater Sorath jars the psyche and transfers the audience to an altered state of consciousness.

Each artist exhibiting also presented a live performance piece as an extension of the fixed works shown in the mediums of sculpture, literature, textiles, printmaking and photography. The performances focus on the physical body as the subject matter, using it as the medium.

The Rituals was exhibited at the Ferguson Foundry, 2-9th September 2017

Video of the opening night below.