Silence insinuates itself as an invisible, empty cloak of almost nothingness when in fact it is anything but… Silence holds you upright and keeps you moving forward… even now, after all of this.
– Selected excerpts from more extensive ramblings jotted down in artist’s diary entry dated 27 February 2017.
[Also used as the artist statement for Melanie’s third solo, The Other Side of Silence, 23 May – 29 June at the Collective Haunt, Inc., Adelaide.]
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
– T. S Eliot, The Hollow Men
The hollow men limping around the wasteland of T. S Eliot’s poem act as a metaphor for spiritual emptiness and the purgatorial space between life and death. Written as a bleak response to the fallout of World War I and perhaps to the personal traumas of his broken marriage, Eliot’s words speak of paralysis and entrapment, damnation and loss. However, the ‘between’ spaces described towards the end of the poem are suggestive of possibility and choice. As a fluid body of space between thought and action, movement and consequence, the Shadow is mutable and resists confinement.
This work reflects my interpretation of Eliot’s ‘Shadow’ as an interior space of growth and reclamation. As an intuitive exploration, the physical process of painting mirrors the act of automatic writing where instinct and memory collide. The focused gestures of making embody the meditative labour of observance, rumination and performed remembrance. In this way, my practice becomes an active resistance to loss and oblivion in a process that simultaneously expands on my understanding. For me, Eliot’s Shadow offers the complex spaces ‘between’ thought and motion as creative grounds for growth and retrieval.
(Artist statement for solo exhibition Reset and Resist at Floating Goose Studios, October 2017).