By: Liz Gridley
Medium: Oil & Acrylic on Matchbox
From Eastern suburbs Melbourne, an artistic interest spurred through Life Drawing sessions originated Liz Gridley’s work: centering on her emotional experiences of the human body, internal stresses, and how a painted human subject can affect the emotional state of the viewer.
“I can feel a reaction in my gut when I view an artwork that is enamouring – and it is much more complex than simplistic emotional states, like happiness or sadness. The figures play with gesture and bodily discomfort to complicate the viewer’s role and bring forth questions regarding voyeurism, consent and body confidence.”
Studying at Monash University which included a semester in their Prato, Italy campus in 2008. Gridley’s passion for realist painting emerged and has now developed to include contemporary surfaces. The reflective appeal of aluminium panels allow the viewer to influence the work by changing reflections visible through the transparent paint layers; this exchange of shadows across the paint surface allows the painted figure to occupy the space of the gallery with the viewer, rather than hide in the sealed, imagined ‘window’ of the canvas.
Gridley had her debut solo exhibition ‘Empathy, My Witness’ in 2018 at Off The Kerb Gallery following her Major Prize win at the Graeme Hildebrand Art Prize in 2017. Gridley has been a Finalist in a number of awards including the Cliftons Art Prize, the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize (USA), fortyfive downstairs Emerging Art Prize, was awarded a commendation by judge Prudence Flint for her piece in the 2019 Rick Amor Self Portrait Prize and won the recent Life Model Society Prize (Painting Division). Gridley was also a resident of the ‘Growing Pains Initiative’ Artists Residency at Burrinja Gallery in Upwey in 2019, creating oil paintings that spread organically across the gallery walls before demolition.
Artist Statement: Its constant – trying to contain and control a mentally capable outlook, in times of mass unnerving panic and fear.
For ‘Let it Burn’, my pieces have the matches left whole yet referencing a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
My figure sits between the predicted cloud effects of two potential flames, unlit, but poised to spread poison if lit through the form of toxic, flammable oil paint additives.
This passive, sitting back pose – alert to what’s in front of us but unable to act is how I’ve felt being overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
Size: 10cm x4cm x1cm (open)
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