Jet Mcgown-Withers

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

holding a torch up to my skin to see what my insides look like

The last six months have been an intuitive journey into the relationships between light, darkness, shadow and the body. When the work began it sat between the abject body and the structures that govern it, hold it, disrupt it. Looking at the mediation of boundaries between the body and external structures. But light kept on creeping into the work. The shadowy grid seen through a gelatine sheet. The way coloured sheets glowed when lit from behind. I had to sit and allow for the possibility that the work was more complicated than just exploring the ‘abject’ body through gelatine.

When I was a child, I felt like I had a hole in my chest and in the darkest hours of the night I would fall into this hole. It would start with a pulling feeling in my chest, nothing to distract from it, nobody to see. Until I was consumed by it. Wrapped in its inky blackness.

This work seeks to honour that black hole in my chest as a child. Doing so through process-based work, where processes become therapy. Honouring the small girl who was lost in that hole by slowly and gently bringing wonder and light inside. Using the body and structure to remain present. Working from the inside out.

Experimenting with a gelatine as been crucial to this process. It is both bodily and not. It is soft when melted but set when cooled. It has a life span that ranges from a gelatine sheet to a puddle of liquid mould. In the same way that one steps into memories and times to heal them, I am intervening at various stages of the gelatine’s life.

As I have continued to work with the gelatine, dancing between body and structure, light and shadow has become an important component to the work. It is almost as if like a child I am again holding a torch up to my palm to try and see what my insides look like. Tracing my veins and watching the glow of my flesh. Looking at my shadowy hand moving against the wall. Thus, light becomes a way to pass the threshold from outside to inside, and shadows as a way to trace where the light could not reach.