My vision for the exhibition was to emphasise my personal theme of a variety of human emotions, through the use of physical expression. After extensive research on different artists and their portrayal of different emotions. I was inspired by artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was able to fuel his art pieces with his personal feelings, mental health struggles and past experiences. Personally, when I think of emotion, I think of struggles around mental health, which is typically why I chose to focus my theme around melancholy emotions. I wanted to focus my creative attention within the issue of mental health, as I feel it is a topic that is hidden from society, and not spoken about. I feel as though melancholy and positive emotions are experienced by most people, however at different degrees, so incorporating the topic of mental health with visual art, would help educate others. I also used the influence of social media and the absurd social expectations to either look or act in a certain manner influence the aspect of mental health. An individual’s mental health can be negatively affected by social media, especially if one feels as though they cannot reach the unrealistic beauty expectations.
My main motif throughout the art process was to depict different facial expressions, representing a range of emotions associated with mental health, through every artwork in the exhibition. As the aspect of mental health is associated with physical form, I made the decision to work primary in three dimensional, utilizing ceramics as the main focus within the display. Other explored art forms include, digital photography and mixed media painting. Throughout the ceramic pieces I created, I am telling a narrative through each ceramic portrait. Each ceramic portrait tells a different story either relating to my own emotions or a physical expression of others. Many of my ceramic’s pieces were not initially planned beforehand, allowing my emotions to control the creation of the portrait and dictating the emotion it desired. I typically focused on achieving a facial structure through the clay and then creating an emotional expression linked to an aspect of mental health. An example of this is my pieces, ‘Poisoned Sanity’ and ‘Beauty in the Chaos’. Each ceramic piece utilized a different glaze or oxidize colour, to enhance the visual effect and portray a different emotion of each ceramic portrait. I wanted each portrait to be individual and not distracted by other pieces. My aim was for the emotion to be felt by the viewer. The work within my exhibition is linked by the aspect of the human portrait and the emotions associated with mental health. Particular works are linked by art elements including texture, which is at times rough, to emphasise a negative emotion, such as my pieces ‘Broken Shapeshifter’ and ‘All in my Head’. The emotion of anxiety was depicted through the use of strong studio lighting and the use of rope as a prop in my digital photograph series, ‘Prisoner of my Mind’. Within these works, I used the rope as a symbol of apprehension, constricting the individual and creating a sense of trepidation.
This gave me the freedom to go further in my pieces, creating the most absurd facial features that ended up coming together to express the intended emotion. In my approach prior to this exhibition, I have been influenced by the works and exhibition of artists, Robert Arneson and Johnson Tsang.
I was not only intrigued by their artworks, but I was astonished by the way they set up their exhibition so viewers were able to view a range of different types of art. When setting up my exhibition, I placed each ceramic mask on a black painted armature stool. Painting it black ensured that the colour would not impact and essentially overpower the initial colour of the glaze. I placed every stool in different areas and positions, so the viewer was able to grasp the pieces individually like I initially wanted. I then used a white wall to display my tissue paper portrait and photographs, so they would not be overpowered by the ceramic pieces and be viewed as an individual emotional piece of expression.