Issue 37:3 | September 2017 | Anxiety: Art and mental health
Anxiety: Art and mental health
Issue 37:3 | September 2017
Issue 29:3 | September 2009 | Rational / Emotional
Rational / Emotional
Issue 29:3 | September 2009
Issue 17:2 | June 1997 | Art & Medicine
Art & Medicine
Issue 17:2 | June 1997


The art of dis-ease

I have lifted the title for this essay from Narratives of Dis‑ease (1990), a series of works by the late British photographer Jo Spence. The series was made following the artist’s partial mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer. Closely‑cropped around her body, the photographs show Spence partially nude, using props and performing emotive gestures, compositions and sight gags that were suggestive of the sub‑titles she ascribed to each individual image: Expunged, Exiled, Included, Excised and Expected.

Stuart Ringholt: Anxiety, laughter and stress reduction

Why I do them is to be around people that don’t have any fear.
I want to see what it’s like to be around people who are really happy. 

Stuart Ringholt’s anti‑anxiety Anger Workshops and stress‑healing Naturist Tours step outside the usual model of clinical healing practices. They revisit the potential of being happy by living in the moment as a form of liberation and group therapy that is creatively driven. The first of the Naturist Tours began as part of a show on art and therapy named Let The Healing Begin (2011) at the IMA in Brisbane. Curator Robert Leonard commented that many regular gallery goers politely declined the invitation to take part, and although he was low key in his advertisement of this aspect of the show, it created a tremendous amount of community and media interest. Fast forward to the subsequent tours through the Wim Delvoye Retrospective at MONA (2011), and James Turrell: A Retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia, and Ringholt’s practice has all but surrendered to the demand, with an accelerated following. 

Warwuyun (worry) in the age of the selfie

The affective power of a photograph is perhaps never more potent than when the subject is a lost loved one, as Roland Barthes famously discussed on contemplating a portrait of his dead mother. This appreciation of the role of photography is harnessed in a new digital artwork by the Miyarrka Media collective which uses family photographs, including many images of deceased family members, as the basis for an interactive digital artwork about the importance of family and feeling in an age of interconnection. 

Reflections on the neurodiverse city

I am autistic. I perceive and experience the world through sensory and cognitive pathways unique to autism. Neuroscience documents this as “sensory atypicality” and “detail‑focused perception.” In terms of lived‑experience, this means the senses react in ways different from the norm, and the mind attends to minutiae that most others dismiss or miss altogether. Autistic sensory‑cognitive idiosyncrasy unpacks in myriad ways, varying from person to person and in modulations that range from intense attraction to extreme aversion.

Performing panic. How does your data glow?

I am in France. I have been working towards a presentation related to my research on panic at the Sorbonne, at a conference called Lire Pour Faire. I am anxious, sick with it, actually. My paper is dry and I need wet. The wet of tears, the wet of biochemicals pumping through blood, the wet of fear-piss. I want to vomit and I want to scream. Instead I sit in my room and hyperventilate. I find my friend and disclose my fears to her. I am in a state. She convinces me to do a practice presentation for a group of people who will be kind and supportive. I perform my disquiet and my insecurity and it is painful, and the pain is felt, and there is silence. There is a sitting back, a sinking down, a closing of laptop lids. There is quiet. Sometime after the quiet somebody tells a story and there is talk, feedback, questioning, exchange, confusion. This is where the research happens. Elsewhere, and otherwise, and afterwards.

The Underpass Motel
This project grew as an extension of a Fellowship awarded to Stuart Elliott in 2006 from ArtsWA – the major arts funding body of the WA Government. Artists involved: Stuart Elliott, Graham Taylor, Patrizia Tonello, Amanda Williams, Peter Dailey, Ben Jones, Richard Heath and Si Hummerston. The Underpass Motel, DVD premiere and gallery exhibition opens at Turner Galleries 9 October - 7 November 2009. Visit the website:
Visual arts at OzAsia
The 2009 OzAsia Festival runs from 3 – 17 October, and also includes a fantastic family-friendly program of theatre, dance, film, food, as well as the free community opening event, the Moon Lantern Festival in Elder Park. See Open from 29 September - 1 November at the Festival Centre Curious Screen: Festival Theatre (FT) Foyer The Sum of Cultures: Piano Bar Follow, Northern India: Faces and Words and Okami: FT Foyer Miss Taken: Space Theatre Foyer 'this reminds me of some place': FT Foyer 29 September - 8 November, Following Threads: Artspace Gallery (Upstairs, Dunstan Playhouse)
Living palely
The Stoics may have taken rationality too far in their resolute minimisation of all feeling. Are emotions no more than disturbances in the logical landscape? What of Pascal’s ‘the heart has its reasons that reason is not acquainted with’? Perhaps the rationality/emotion divide is overdrawn, risking battle lines forming around pure opposites never found in real life examples. Yet the issue has bite, relevance to intimate features of our life: our friendships, our sense of safety in the world, how much we give of ourselves and give up of ourselves to our working life and the living texture of what it feels like to be us: fugitive, or having the ‘warm antiquity of self’.
Speed of dark: Boris Eldagsen
Artist Boris Eldagsen and writer Robert Cook are both looking down the barrel of forty. Cook is fascinated by other members of his exact generation. In his words: 'They are alternative selves, part of my body. Mid-life is hard life, the life as lived not the life not lived, the other path, the no stepping back.' Cook and Boris did not meet.
Strange bedfellows
Why write or think about the work of Patricia Piccinini and Richard Billingham together? Because the work of each of them elicits a visceral response, a response characterised by emotion and gut feeling. Because the border between humans and animals and the relationships between us are examined by both Piccinini and Billingham in a manner that emphasises our relatedness. These are intensely moral artworks with a strong documentary flavour that ask us questions about responsibility and connection that go to the very heart of our lives.
Notes on melancholy and anxiety in the works of Sanja Pahoki
The artworks of Sanja Pahoki walk a zigzag between melancholy and its contemporary cousin, anxiety. Curator and writer Hannah Mathews interviewed Sanja Pahoki about her recent work while thinking about Daniel Birnbaum's comment about the relationship between melancholy and the arts: "The idea of the melancholic as someone not only passive and depressed but also creative is the basis for the Renaissance idea of the genius – the dialectic between darkness and light, destruction and creation."
Astra and the ventilation hypothesis
Astra Howard’s 'Action Research/Performances' necessarily require participation by members of the public. This makes them unpredictable. Astra’s presence is not about entertainment. It is not a show. There is no star. There is no attempt to expose any individual. There are simply sincere attempts to understand them. Astra acknowledges and responds sincerely to one of our deepest and most affective human needs – our need for emotional expression. Our need to have our voice heard. Our need to vent.
William Kentridge between chance and a programme
Pat Hoffie interviewed William Kentridge on the phone to 'draw' out some of his ideas about drawing and art. His work remains committed to a sense of the tactile, and to the slow grainy effort of drawing. In his words: ‘I would repeat my trust in the contingent, the inauthentic, the whim, the practical, as strategies for finding meaning. I would repeat my mistrust in the worth of Good Ideas.'
The Divided Heart
The divided heart Rachel Power Red Dog Books, Melbourne RRP $29.99
Personal Political Emotional
Artist Megan Evans was for some years the partner of Aboriginal activist and artist Les Griggs who suicided in 1993. Fifteen years later she has begun to write his story - a story of reconciliation with herself and her country, through a relationship that undid her and put her back together again.
Ann Newmarch: Opening Pandora's box
In 2007 Ann Newmarch was represented in 'WACK, Art and the Feminist Revolution', a major exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Newmarch embraced feminism in the early 1970s. Her art practice manifests the view that all representation is political. Her new work, reiterates a position that she adopted in 1972 : "I try to get onto the page visual images that combine to make memory: past memories incorporated in new sensations and new images related back to past experience. Contemplation ...of our environment that recalls other times, places and relationships."
The Second Life of Pye: Daniel Jay Mounsey
Social media is the new buzz word and trend - like it or not. Daniel Jay Mounsey is ahead of the pack in having Pyewacket Kazyanenko as his well-established alter-ego in Second Life, AND collaborating and performing online through an avatar with Stelarc and others, AND(!) performing onstage live as anime character Hell Girl. Curator and writer Charity Bramwell interviewed all she could find of him.
Art and occupation: Raeda Saadeh
Raeda Saadeh is a Palestinian artist who was born in Umm Al-Fahem, a Muslim village (now a city) in the northern region of Haifa. She completed art studies at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where she now lives. Her questioning of the forces of both political occupation of the Palestinian territories, and personal occupation by traditional cultural and social expectations, have inspired her to focus on her own body with performance and photography.
Choosing who will keep the stories strong
In early 2006, the renowned Liyagauwumirr painter Mickey Durrng Garrawurra died in his home on Milingimbi. For many years, Durrng (1940-2006) and his brother Tony Dhanyala (1935-2004) were the only people authorised to paint the Liyagauwumirr’s most important clan designs. Before his death, however, Durrng made the seemingly unorthodox decision to pass this knowledge and authority to his sister Ruth Nalmakarra (b.1954) and her family. What followed was a flowering of tradition, as Nalmakarra and her sisters used this broadened authority to instigate a cultural revival that united their community around these ancient designs.
Inside Sydney's new Outsider art centre
Outsider Art is enjoying increasing attention in Australia. STOARC – the Self-Taught and Outsider Art Research Collection – at the University of Sydney opened its public face at Callan Park Gallery in March 2009.
Len Lye: An Artist in Perpetual Motion
Len Lye: An Artist in Perpetual Motion Curators: Alessio Cavallaro and Tyler Cann ACMI, Melbourne 16 July – 11 October 2009
53rd Venice Biennale: Making Worlds
53rd Venice Biennale: Making Worlds Bantin Duniyan, Hacer Mundos Director: Daniel Birnbaum 7 June – 22 November 2009
Reconstruction Works: Paul Caporn
Reconstruction Works: Paul Caporn Turner Galleries, Perth 17 April – 16 May 2009
Nobody Likes a Show Off: Richard Lewer
Nobody Likes a Show Off: Richard Lewer Curator: Kirrily Hammond Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 1 July – 5 September 2009
Not Absolute
Not Absolute Curator: Janice Lally Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide 24 July – 27 September 2009
SRL: Stigma Research Laboratory
SRL: Stigma Research Laboratory Philippa Steele, John Vella, Scot Cotterell Moonah Arts Centre 8 May – 21 May 2009
A New Truth to Materials
A New Truth to Materials Boxcopy (Miles Hall, Chris Handran, Chloe Cogle, and Ross Manning) Curator: Raymonde Rajkowski Level 3 Metro Arts, Brisbane April 30 - May 30 2009
Sail Away: Ian North
Sail Away: Ian North Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide 1-26 April 2009
Drifting in My Own Land: Nalda Searles
Drifting in My Own Land: Nalda Searles John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University of Technology, Perth Touring Australia 2009 – 2013 19 June - 30 August 2009
Integration Assimilation and a Fair Go For All: Khaled Sabsabi
Integration Assimilation and a Fair Go For All: Khaled Sabsabi Gallery 4A, Sydney 13 June – 25 July 2009
Upturns, Props and Portals: Bec Stevens
Upturns, Props and Portals: Bec Stevens Curator: Sean Kelly Kelly’s Garden Curated Projects Series 1 Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart 5 June – 3 July 2009
Oh that I were where I would be
Oh that I were where I would be Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane 10 June – 4 July 2009
The Visible Human Project: Life and death in cyberspace
Art & Medicine
"The belief system that makes the artworld so unlike - let us say - the builder's hardware world is distinguished primarily by the doctrines that there are no truths and that nothing is real.... To put the point with moderation: artists would not be inconvenienced in the least by a general theory of representation that brought the trustworthiness of their critic somewhere within powerful cooee of the trustworthiness of their radiologist. And Theory owes it to them."
Art & Medicine
Whose Body? Ethics and Experiment in Art
How does the notion of experiment translate from the realms of scientific medicine to the realms of art? We are forced to examine how legal and ethical liabilities of behaviour are encoded. Looks at the work of Stelarc and Orlan.
Art & Medicine
Manifesto of Carnal Art
Carnal art is self portraiture in the classical sense, but realised through the possibility of technology. It swings between defiguration and refiguration. Its inscription in the flesh is a function of our age. The body has become a 'modified ready-made', no longer seen as the ideal it once represented.
Art & Medicine
Kevin Todd: Magnetic resonance
Art & Medicine
Hand and Eye: The Art of Michael Esson
Michael Esson is fascinated by medical science. His work is not simply a satire of the medical profession or a reflection of the limitations of modern science. The surgeon is a metaphor for the mind facing the limits of its own ability to look into the darkness of nature.
Art & Medicine
The Faulding Collection
Looks at the art collecting practice of international pharmaceutical and healthcare company F.H.Faulding & Co.
Art & Medicine
The Irrepressible Imprecision of Emotion
One of the general aims of internationally focussed survey exhibitions is to reflect the art of a particular time....However there is also a sense in which exhibitions of this nature can tend to operate as a form of cultural engineering, where the very status of inclusion in such exhibitions influences the kind of work made.
Art & Medicine
Post-mortem: Farrell and Parkin
For a number of years the collaboration of Farrell and Parkin has produced photographic imagery dealing with medical history. Their photographic work involves the almost archaeological reconstruction of medical contraptions together with bandaging and stirrups and so on which are described in medical texts.
Art & Medicine
Healing Places: The Art of Placemaking in Health Facilities
Examines ideas of place in medical/health facilities from different perspectives. What role does art play in these places? To promote wellness, designers need to create environments that help in reducing stress. Art has an important role to play in helping people to heal.
Art & Medicine
Drugs 'n' Art
The role of drugs and art making is examined in the works of particular artists. Historically drugs have been used for enlightenment as well as for healing or endurance....
Art & Medicine
Image Bank for Art and the Body - Medical Imaging
Medical imaging through the work of nine artists: James Guppy, Ruth Waller, Victor Dellavia, Elizabeth Abbott, Julie Rrap, Jan Parker, Tina Gonsalves, Kate Campbell-Pope and Claire Bailey. Artists statements and colour images included.
Art & Medicine
Means to an Endoscope: Art, Medicine and the Body
Art medicine and the body was a project spanning 18 months. There were 28 participating artists. The exhibition opened at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in August 1996 followed by the performance and forum.
Art & Medicine
Body Suits
Body suits, conceived by Jane Trengove of Arts Access Victoria, proposes the body as a site for investigation with the contributing artists being mostly people who experience 'bodily difference due to disability'. Touring show in 1997.
Art & Medicine
Linking Art, Science and Technology through the body
Looks at the conference 'inter sections 1996' hosted by the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales. The theme for the conference was Imag(in)ing Bodies; Issues of art, design, technolgy, health, medicine and science.
Art & Medicine
Artworks in the New Children's Hospital Westmead NSW
The new building was conceived with the idea that artworks would be included throughout the new hospital as part of the desire to create a total healing environment. Since 1995 when the first patients were admitted the collection has continued to grow. An illustrated catalogue of the collection has also been published.
Art & Medicine
Youth Arts in Hospital
The Youth Arts program at the Department of Adolescent Medicine at the New Children's Hospital Sydney commenced in 1984. In 1994 the project 'Art Injection' took place resulting in a book.
Art & Medicine
Art Therapy: The New Frontier
Looks at the program in the College of Fine Art at the University of New South Wales.
Art & Medicine
Getting Better all the Time: Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre Arts Program
The Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre (Victoria) has an innovative arts program. Commenced in 1989 and now holds an annual exhibition of sculpture.
Art & Medicine
Hello Sailor
Exhibition review Sculpture Bert Flugelman Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, South Australia 23 April - 18 May 1997
Art & Medicine
Salome's Dance
Exhibition review Blind: Annette Bezor Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, South Australia March 26 - April 20 1997
Art & Medicine
A Manifesto of Arrival and Understanding
Exhibition review Paintings: Zhong Chen Adelaide Central Gallery, South Australia 7 March - 20 April 1997
Art & Medicine
Historical Incisions
Exhibition Review Intervention 4: Michael Schlitz Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery 3 February - 2 March 1997
Art & Medicine
Getting a Glimpse of the San
Exhibition review Eland and Moon: Contemporary San Art of Southern Africa Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 29 November - 31 March 1997
Art & Medicine
Compelling Viewing
Exhibition review In focus: Rover Thomas Stories: Works from the Holmes a Court Collection Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery The University of Western Australia Part of the 1997 Festival of Perth
Art & Medicine
An Elliptical Traverse
Exhibition review Inside the visible - Alternative views of 20th Century Art through Women's Eyes Art Gallery of Western Australia 13 February - 6 April 1997
Art & Medicine
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
Book review Letters and Liars: Norman Lindsay and the Lindsay Family by Joanna Mendelssohn Angus and Robertson RRP $19.95
Art & Medicine
Search and You Shall Find
Book review Max Germaine's Artists and Galleries on CD Rom Published by Macquarie Multimedia RRP $199 (reviewed by Anna Ward with Julia Farrow vi$
Art & Medicine
M/other love: the first relationship & the photography of Toni Wilkinson
Toni Wilkinson’s 'm/other' exhibition of photographs at Perth Galleries, North Fremantle earlier this year confronted the viewer with a series of atypical representations of the mother child relationship. She give a glimpse into the privacy, and reality, of a mother’s world by showing us mothers and their children at their most naked, physically and emotionally.