POSTPONED: FEBRUARY 2021, FREE
In this powerful exhibition, artist and curator Prudence Maltby presents over forty mixed media collages responding to the unprecedented events of the past nine months. The experience of collective trauma is explored through layered imagery and expressive mark-making, and the concluding images are at once striking and unsettling, moving and humorous, playful and thought-provoking.
Like many artists grappling with working during the pandemic, I found that the focus for my subject matter became eclipsed by the Lockdown situation. My answer to the alarm, confusion and isolation I felt, and the desire to remain creative, led me to pick up my scissors, a favoured tool since early childhood.
Melding together stray materials, old works and found objects allowed me to express myself in real time, an exercise in recording and processing unfolding events which were way beyond my control and comprehension.
These mixed media pieces of collage/pen & wash/pencil & raw pigment, represent the time capsule of Covid19, Black Lives Matter, saving our health service and taking on the rules of safety associated with the virus – fraternising and face coverings. The title I’ve used relates to a battlefield syndrome in which a soldier may become lost in thought due to emotional stress from the fight. The 1000 Yard Stare is named such because the soldier may seem to be focusing on an object very far away, and may even become unresponsive to external stimuli. The phrase was first coined during the Vietnam War and referenced in Kubrick’s 1987 film, Full Metal Jacket. I believe Covid19 has exposed us all to an unparalleled shared trauma as we’ve adapted to a different world with a faceless foe. Collectively and individually we react to the strain and tension surrounding the pandemic, shifting between feelings of agitation and immobilization; waves of panic seeing new headlines; and then a sense of resignation and acceptance as the new disease weaves through populations across the world.
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