Art exhibition, Unhooked, tackles mental health issues in aid of Solent Mind at Yellow Edge Gallery, Gosport
THE tortured artist has been a long-standing cliche – the idea that great works can only be driven by great suffering.
And of course this has been true – it’s why it became a cliche.
But an exhibition running now at Yellow Edge Gallery in Stokes Road, Gosport aims to to raise awareness of mental health issues and much-needed funds for local charity Solent Mind.
The exhibition, put together Dale Lodge features a diverse range of works by 15 local and national artists.
Dale, who is one-half of Mernpunk is from Lincolnshire but has exhibited at Yellow Edge before.
And when she put her idea for this show to gallery owners Steve and Irene Buggle, they were immediately supportive.
Dale describes her art as ‘making statements about issues such as social media, body image and mental health, but with a wry, humorous spin’.
Her own piece in the show, drawing clearly on these themes is the eye-catching Four Influencers of The Apocalypse.
Dale, 42, says: ‘I've struggled with my own mental health issues since I was 17 and really struggled to get help from doctors – any kind of NHS help.
‘It wasn't until I was in my late-30s that I found a private counsellor I could go to, and I started doing art as a creative outlet, and it's been the most helpful thing I've ever done for my own mental health.
‘I thought it would be good to get a group of people who were kind of in the same boat as me, that had all been helped by art, and to put a show on that shows something positive can come out of mental health issues, and how useful art is in channelling that.’
The wide variety of styles and mediums on display at Unhooked was intentional.
‘I approached a very diverse group of artists because I didn't want it to be a cliche,’ she explains. ‘I didn't want it to be all dark and drab, I wanted it to be everything from really gothic-looking pieces to super-bright works.
‘When we set it up, I looked at all the colour and that was exactly what I wanted – so people can see that it isn't just about everything being really dour - something positive and attractive can come out of it.’
An auction on the opening night raised more than £2,000, which will go with a further £1,000 from an Instagram raffle, to Solent Mind.
One of those local artists is Clarke Reynolds, from North End. Registered blind, the 40-year-old has specialised in using Braille as an artform.
Clarke was aware of Dale through their mutual connection to Yellow Edge - he has also exhibited there before, and heard about her plan for this show.
‘I told her about my brother passing away – he had mental health issues, he was 35 and he died on the street of Newquay.
It was quite poignant for me to be part of this project.
‘For the auction, I created a one-off piece called Staring At The Black Dog, and it was the definition of 'black dog' in Braille on a mirror. It was used as a metaphor for depression in classical fables, and I used “mirror, mirror on the wall”. Steve and Irene bought it actually, which was lovely – I'm sure they'll put it in the bathroom!
I did a piece for The Crypt Gallery in London, and I thought it was quite fitting to put it in here, it's called an Absurd Cryptic Triptych – three canvases, so I used Braille and words - words are really important to someone who's visually impaired.
‘These pieces, what you see is black canvases with black dots, and in among the black dots are white dots.
‘In each canvas, it's more than the visual. One piece is called “Absurdity”, so in that canvas is the definition of absurdity in black dots – you physically have to touch it because it's Braille, but in the white dots is an anagram of the word absurdity.
‘Each one, absurd, absurdity and absurdism, has an anagram of the definition of the canvas.
‘Mental health is not black and white, people don't know if you've got a mental health condition, you can hide it. In a way my artwork is a metaphor for that because I hide the meaning in these pieces – you have to touch it because you can't see it, it's black dots on black canvas.’
Portsmouth artist Charlotte Hampson has a series of large-scale abstract paintings in Unhooked.
Charlotte Hampson, 26, from Portsmouth, combines her love of yoga with art in her work.
A graduate from Wimbledon college of arts UAL in 2019 she has since qualified as a yoga instructor after exploring the connection between mindfulness and creativity as part of her studies.
‘My work combines yoga techniques, meditation and mindful elements, with the therapeutic parts of painting artwork.’
Describing her pieces in Unhooked, she says: ‘‘They're quite abstract – I used yoga poses, so I am using my body to create large-scale artworks, but I also use clay and natural materials as the paint, so that's a third element of nature, and connecting with nature and how that can be really healing as well.
‘I've just started my own business called Art Flow Yoga, so I'm running workshops which combine painting with yoga – we do an hour of yoga, meditation, then we do an hour of painting together.’
Yellow Edge Gallery is open from midday-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information go to unhookedtheexhibition.org.
For more about Solent Mind go to solentmind.org.uk.
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