Post Exhibition Blues - Press Release
In the beginning there was...
Swimming alone one day, artist Mark Gerada drifted into a cave linking the Inland Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in Gozo, Malta. Looking below the surface of the water, he found that the cave radiated an impossible blue light from its depths. Like no colour he had ever seen, Gerada's discovery of this ethereal glow seemed to invert both the laws of nature and his own conceptions of the bounds of colour.
In this watery luster, notions of absolute beauty, peace and fear came together with terrifying and beautiful unity. Hinting at a potential to slip easily from one reality to another, this blue light inspired a sense of fear, wonder and amazement. An encounter with his own mortality, this physical and emotional experience seemed to crystallize the themes he explores in both his art and life.
This womb under the sea forms the central motif of the Post Exhibition Blues series. Paintings, sound pieces and videos plunge the viewer into shimmering reincarnations of Gerada's otherworldly experience in the cave. Alluding to the many passages we all travel through in life, from birth to death, softly glowing negatives of vaginas and vortexes draw the eye to white centres creating an at once revelatory and concealing effect.
Blues and reds dominate the series, encapsulating the emotional and ideological dichotomies the works explore; from blue's association with depression, sadness, calm and peace, to red's expression of trauma, passion, anger and blood. Like a current or rhythm, the aesthetic logic in ‘Post Exhibition Blues’ comes from a musical sensibility, as repeated circles and ellipses, passages and tunnels serve as focal points for his meditations on cycles of creation.
Drawing together disparate concepts to reveal their innate connectedness is characteristic of Gerada's work and in the ‘Post Exhibition Blues’ series, notions of life, death and love come together with clarity and simplicity. For central to Gerada's practice is a desire to illuminate shared truths and a conviction that art should do more than change how art looks or how we look at art: art has the power to change the fabric of the world.
In many ways, the synonymously impenetrable and visionary quote from Russian artist Kazimer Malevich below encapsulates this creative ethos:
The new existence has entered the fifth dimension… All will obtain existence only when they travel along this path of perfection; it always was, is and will be; but it must be revealed, seen and also be seen as moving toward that great perfection - victory over time... I have seen the concordance of millions of elements that form the instruments of infinite overcoming.
Malevich's process of abstraction and the quest to achieve perfection - an at once inspiring and tormenting muse, are shared by Gerada. Having worked as an artist for over 10 years, Gerada has come to expect a sense of disappointment, exhaustion and almost grieving at the end of every creative project. Often referred to as 'Post Exhibition Blues' Gerada says his post-creative windfall comes from a feeling that the work he creates never meets the expectations or imaginings that he holds at the outset of projects and that afterwards he is frustrated by a sense that his work could have gone further.
It is with a keen sense of irony then that he decided to explore this Post Exhibition Blues experience with yet another exhibition. At first intended to be more a light-hearted poke at what it means to devote a life to art practice; the namesake reflects Gerada's belief that this phenomenon has parallels in all our lives. From the deep grief experienced after the death of a loved one, to post-wedding, post-travel, postnatal, post graduation, post employment or post party blues, Gerada believes that our shared struggle to process and accept these realities may be emblematic of our greater, universal longing to understand and accept our own mortality.
Although an ever present shadow in our lives, death is rarely discussed and Gerada feels that our ability to cope with death is hampered by its alienation from society. His own experiences following the recent deaths of family members and friends - some in horrifying ways - and society's response to his various expressions of sadness inspired him to take an unflinching look at this subject. Gerada hopes that in translating these raw, confronting and terrifying ideas into works of beauty, his ‘Post Exhibition Blues’ meditations on cycles of life and loss, can inspire some peace and acceptance of these realities.
Underscoring his own quest for illumination and expression, Gerada's works also emanate a sense of peace and acceptance. For just as Malevich had to abandon his quest for perfection once he had taken his painting to a certain point, over time Gerada has cultivated an attitude that although perfection is an endlessly alluring objective, it remains unobtainable. To continue doing the work he loves Gerada is learning to adopt an approach of awareness, anticipation and acceptance of Post Exhibition Blues.