Lauren Lysaght: Emovere

29 August – 29 September 1996

 

Including works with titles like Happily Ever After, Sweet Love Suite, Wall of Denial and That Old Familiar Feeling, Lauren Lysaght's exhibition takes its name from the Latin word meaning to move or disturb. Far removed from the intellectualised and dispassionate art which seems to dominate the contemporary art scene, Emovere deliberately seeks to bring emotion back into the gallery space. By immersing the viewer in an arena charged with sorrow, rage, joy, and despair, Lysaght rejects the current trend towards dealing with strong feelings by channelling them into socially acceptable forms: "I am fascinated with the way people 'manage' anger now - having Italian and Irish blood in me, I learned to 'free-range' with anger - and I am convinced it is another 'plot' by the middle classes to keep anger 'nice'."

The exhibition consists of variously sized multi-media pieces, on both the floor and the walls, which utilise such diverse materials as lace, faux snakeskin and candyfloss. The emotional content of the work confronts the viewer, even as the eye is seduced by the delicious trashiness of colour and texture. Lysaght's love of melodrama and humour does not diminish the intensity of her art, rather it creates an environment which sets the viewer up for ultimate impact.

Compassionate Leave, a multi-media floor piece, is a Louis Vuillon-like luggage set which looks reassuringly ready for the owner's escape, but closer inspection reveals that the cases are forbiddingly coffin-shaped. Lysaght's scenarios may appear sugar-sweet, but they drip acid: "I like to produce friendly little pieces that invite the curious to stop and look more closely. I lure them in and then I go 'bang' and the observer has to react."

('Lauren Lysaght - Emovere', Bulletin, No.103, August/September 1996, p.3)

This exhibition was held at the McDougall Art Annex in the Arts Centre.