Laura Greenway: Streams of Consciousness

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What: Visual Art Exhibition
When: 30/11/15-04/12/15
Where: Proteus Creation Space

From the 30th November to the 4th December, artist Laura Greenway will be showcasing her latest body of work in her debut solo show entitled ‘Streams of consciousness’. Drawing inspiration from her own experiences of mental illness, the exhibition aims to raise awareness of psychiatric illnesses such as OCD, psychosis and depression.

Streams of consciousness, whilst primarily a display of contemporary painting, boasts an amalgamation of disciplines ranging from watercolour to collage and built up textured pieces. Examining concepts of colour theory in relation to emotion, the show intends to create a dialogue about mental health, starting conversations about illness and in turn helping to reduce the stigma that can so often surround sufferers of mental health problems. Laura works completely in abstract, allowing her emotions to spill freely onto the canvas, capturing her daily struggles through gestural brush marks and leaving each piece open to interpretation.

Held at Basingstoke’s Proteus Creation Space, who have been incredibly helpful and generous in assisting with hosting the show, the exhibition is suitable for all ages and is free to attend. Most of the works on display will be for sale in order to raise money for mental illness with 25% of all sales being donated to mental health charity SANE. The artist describes the exhibition as ‘a documentation of mental distress and wellness through the medium of paint’, making it an exhibition not to be missed by those interested in psychoanalysis, mental health and the human condition – this compelling show will leave you both informed and curious to find out more. 

Exhibition: Mary Swanson – Embracing OCD

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What: Exhibition
When: July 29 – September 11, 2015
Where: Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, Columbus, Ohio

Mary Swanson recently got in touch with us again to let us know she’s currently exhibiting at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, stateside. We were in touch with Mary some time ago, and somehow lost touch. We were so pleased when an email pinged into our inbox to say she has a show on. For those of you in the US, or anyone who can afford the plane/train/automobile ticket, we implore you to go see her paintings.

For more information on the brilliant work at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, and Mary’s show, please visit this write-up, here, and their website, here. Also, information below…

Fresh A.I.R. Gallery invites you to the exhibition Embracing OCD by Mary Swanson

In this exhibition, Mary Swanson takes a critical view of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Each piece depicts her every day fears, struggles and triumphs dealing with the disease. The subjects are often depicting herself as the main focal point.

Mary Swanson grew up in Rockford, Illinois, the youngest daughter of an artist and business owner. She spent most of her childhood in art galleries surrounded by artists and creative people. One of her fondest memories as a child was participating in a college level painting course with her mother at Rockford University.

Artist Statement

My artwork takes a critical view of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Each piece depicts the fears, struggles, and triumphs of dealing with the disease. Often, the works depict myself or another female as the main focal point while the theme concentrates on my life struggles dealing with contamination and maternal OCD.

The color blue seen in some of the work is a representation of medication, “the blue pill”, and how it comes to play a vital role in the life of those dealing with the disorder.

The portraits are typically distorted, fractured, or include jagged lines to represent the destruction one feels with the disease. At times the viewer may see the realistic portrayal of the subject to show that they are still human, but that portrayal is often balanced with abstract images.

Finally, the paintings are intended to be a window into the life and soul of someone who struggles with mental illness and how it can at times be disturbing and uncomfortable to look upon.

Start in Manchester.

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Start in Manchester is an NHS mental health organisation with a bit of a twist. They are an art in mental health organisation, nationally recognised as a leader in its field, who offer therapeutic services based on the experience of creativity. Through art and gardening courses the team help to “maintain mental wellbeing, develop coping strategies and self-care skills, and regain the confidence to move back into mainstream life.”

Working with people experiencing long-term mental difficulties and distress Start offer a mix of skills to their students (all mental health service users) including visual arts, horticulture and occupational therapy. When service users join Start they usually have no or very little previous experience of art however they find their talents are drawn out through the creative, supportive learning environment. To find out more about Start click here.

The images displayed on this page are a selection from Start’s galleries, including drawing and painting, ceramics and mosaic work. Start not only exhibit their service users’ work but they have also completed a number of commissions which is my favourite thing about the project.