Jen G. Pywell: The Bind, an art installation
Corrine Woodman Gallery I | June 27 – July 29, 2017
Mental health is an issue that we are all aware off, but still have a hard time talking about — especially if it concerns oneself. The Corrine Woodman Gallery shows work by local artist Jen G. Pywell about her experience with mental illness.
“The Bind,” is an art installation, which paradoxically shows emerging work but is retrospective in nature as well.
Diagnosed recently with Bipolar 1 Disorder after a severe manic episode, Pywell examines the progression and circular nature of the condition through art making that occurs before the diagnosis, during her episode and while in recovery.
The viewer enters the installation through a curtain and into a square-turned-circular room where artwork hangs in one continuously curved display. The viewer begins circling left to a time before the artist’s diagnosis. This work blends into the wall facing the curtain, a wall of work made during a manic episode: multitude of Post It notes used by the artist to communicate when talking wasn’t possible. The third part consists of silhouettes made shortly after her hospitalization, representing the many silenced voices, the many people who have not yet sought help. However the moment one speaks and gets help the darkness is over. The silhouette then becomes a mere shadow on the wall behind a person who is standing in the spotlight with knowledge, freedom and power.
When the viewer continues around to the black curtain to leave, “the ride” has not ended. The blackness of the curtain is the dark resting point of depression, a time when art making is not possible and leaving, as appealing as it sounds, is suicide. This is “The Bind.” From this black curtain, the circle continues.