PODspace presents ‘Identity’ exhibition

Yoke (2 Faces), Mixed Media Drawing and Photographic Imaging by Lynette Bridge

PODspace in association with the Disability Network Hunter presents its first pop up exhibition for 2015 with ‘Identity’ at Newcastle Art Space from 16 April – 3 May.

‘Identity’ explores this universal theme – what defines who you are? What makes you tick? How do you express that?

Each of the artists has responded in a uniquely personal way. Some, like Tim Johnston, Jordan Haitsma, Dane Tobias, Maree Hopkin and Nathan Dunne have explored what is important to them in their lives and in the world around them.

Dane Tobias states that “My paintings are based on autobiographical drawings which reflect the past and present suburban environments and intimate spaces of friends and relations”.

Janelle Gardner has experimented with the Van Dyke photography process on an image of herself as a young child to create a positive experience of her childhood memories.

Others like Dom Freestone and Kerri Shying have sought to explore and even confront in a highly revealing way what it means to experience disability or mental illness.

Dom Freestone explores his identity a lot through his art. He feels that “…having a disability has forced me to undergo a rethink of exactly what my identity is”.

Kerri Shying poses three questions in her work: What is your birth identity? What identity are you choosing to display today? What environment do you negotiate your identity in? She believes that “Identity, the art of belonging in our lives, is the basis of all my work. Identity is performative and dependent upon whom we are surrounded. We send signals that we hope our world will decode.”

Melaynie Mills also poses questions for the viewer around perceptions of identity and the inner struggles we all face to work out who we are.

For others, the process of their art making is in direct response to their experience of disability or mental illness.

Black Crow Walking’s work portrays the way she has sought to recreate herself following a work accident, moving through the chaos and the tangled events into a better space.

Similarly, Daniel Oxenbridge is working towards establishing who he is, post major brain surgery. His creation of Native Nut Folk was an important part of his initial rehabilitation that made connections between his passion for being in and preserving the natural environment and fond childhood memories.

Lynette Bridge, in reflecting on her own experience of anxiety and depression, states that the series of work exhibited in Gallery One, “…began to have a life of its own………….I wanted to transport the image through time by photographing it with a slow shutter speed whilst the form would undergo metamorphosis but still keep the essence and purity of form”.

Jay Muldoon explores the idea that in life we go through many cycles that make up who we are. He has represented this with the more dominate geometric shape of the circle while the organic shapes and patterns represent growth inspired from nature.

Robert Higginbottom loves painting and has observed that the colours he uses vary depending on how he is feeling.

Mackenzie Feighan also expresses her feelings through colour and her paintings include her personal world: scary zombies, Mum, Dad, Zoe, dogs, flowers, spiders, cockroaches, shoes, ice-creams and funny babies.

Frazer Berwick is an abstract artist and mark maker whose art reflects his writing. Superheroes inspire him.

We invite you to reflect on your own identity, and how it has been shaped by your life experiences.

A highlight includes an interactive installation where the audience is invited to pose with a woollen beard in front of warped mirrors and take a selfie, then post the photo to the PODspace Facebook page.

The exhibition opening will take place on Friday 17 April from 5-7pm, following Octapod’s Creative Access Network meeting in the Black Box Theatre at the Newcastle Community Arts Centre.  This quarterly meeting will include a tour of the Centre as well as a panel discussion involving artists from the ‘identity’ exhibition. Facilitated by Laura Hanlon, Co-director of Critical Animals (a This is Not Art co-presenter), this panel will explore what support artists with disability need to develop their practice.

WHERE: Newcastle Art Space at the Newcastle Community Arts Centre, Parry St, Hamilton.

EXHIBITION DATES: Thursday 16 April – Sunday 3 May 2015.

OPENING: Friday 17 April, 5-7pm. Speeches at 5.30pm. All welcome. Please celebrate with us!

GALLERY HOURS: Thursday – Sunday 12-5pm.

ACCESS: The gallery is wheelchair accessible, with accessible toilets available in the Black Box Theatre.

PARKING: There is some free off street parking available behind the Newcastle Community Art Centre. Otherwise there is free parking outside the venue on Parry St.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: The nearest train station is Hamilton. The venue is 15 minutes walk from the station. Buses run along Maitland Road and Parry St.

All welcome.