Grief and Oblivion
Sally Payen, Viv Sole and Jane Tudge
Curated by Matt Price and Charlie Levine
Preview: 15th October 2010 6-9pm
Open: 16th, 23rd and 30th October 2-5pm
TROVE Newhall Square, 144 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 1RZ
The Kubler-Ross Model details five stages of grief; in grief one will experience, in this order, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; but what after acceptance?
Sally Payen, Viv Sole and Jane Tudge explore these five stages as well as the non-verbalised ones at either side. Grief and Oblivion is an exhibition combining for the first time these West Midland based artists, all three of whom examine and reflect the ideas surrounding grief.
Sally’s paintings directly represent press images from famous riot scenes in both Birmingham and Northern Ireland. These paintings are not just, however, re-presentations, rather their deeper resonance lies in Sally’s approach. Working within the confines of a subtle grid formation Sally departmentalises the scenes within the whole, the paintings not just exploring a scene, rather exposing an emotion of trying to ‘run away; to forget everything.’ The denial within her work is evident in the ghostly figures, grey tones and blurred edges, the ghosts of grief rather than a direct confrontation. The short flashes of red and yellows within the paintings hint at the anger within the aggressive subject matter, completing the second of the five stages.
Viv, with her works foundation being a response to her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease, hints towards bargaining. Metamorphosis is a symbolic countdown towards oblivion, cocoon-like Russian dolls lead to the release of a butterfly-the symbol of the soul in many cultures. The butterfly is a motif used in much of Viv’s work, her altered books, and in the Wreath series. The materials chosen in the creation of butterflies for each wreath brings their own story, little boys camouflage trousers and worn Afghan soldier uniform, or bandages and slings. Another key piece is a bowl of tears made from soap, which for me links all of Viv’s stirring and emotional pieces by its simple symbol of grief and depression.
Finally this leaves acceptance. Jane’s Madeleines cans hold individual memories from Jane herself, as well as people who have seen the work previously; the cans, she says, ‘catch memories which are then held in a supermarket of the mind.’ In Jane’s other work there is an air of ‘what if.’ Acceptance turned into appreciation of what is left, after her car overturned earlier this year, Jane began to question her mortality and in return her immortality, what is kept of a person once they have passed? This is a continuance and refinement in her work that has resulted in her wanting to contain memory and keep in a tin, tied in a box or set in wax for forever.