Lucy Chetcuti: Statement
Phenomena in the natural environment or in a gallery are not altogether self-evident. Their meaning and value are not inherently pre-determined but rather, are dependent on the individuality of the viewer. My work proposes that social “norms”, like heteronormativity, are perpetual and embodied, which influences the sensorial experience of art materials and artworks. My art practice examines the ways in which materials exist within the symbology of the viewer’s understanding of the world which is influenced by heterosexism, capitalism and colonialism. My research applies the theory of queer ecology, to frame my understanding of natural phenomena and objecthood in painting.
My studio investigations have been led by material experimentation and the development of an abstract language, which includes paintings, objects and installation pieces. By presenting works as “phenomena” and in dialogue with each other, an alternative experience of their spatial reality and inter-relation is inferred.
I explore the ways that abstraction can be used to queer normative understandings of nature. I emphasise the material state of my works as fragile, precarious, and temporal by incorporating found and natural materials outside of their economic value. My research considers the question, “what makes something queer?” within the realm of abstraction.
Fragile artworks present themselves from a place of vulnerability and ask for the care they require to exist in the world. Using precarious and impermanent refuse materials critiques the use-value of an artwork and queers an understanding of phenomena in nature. My practice results in a wide array of “anxious objects” without having a secure or clear final form. Many of the works will change over time. My paintings which might be considered a more stable object are made with materials that will change. By presenting art objects in intimate relationships with one another, I propose a queering of natural phenomena.
Words from 'All Fours' held at Canberra Contemporary Art Space 2023
(A selection of the works are in 'Reprise' 2023 at Stanley Street Gallery)
I use automatic drawing techniques to explore a range of new marks in these recent works. I have also featured monoprinted gestures, shifting between the predictable and the unpredictable. The marks I apply to the ground react within this framework to create a tension between spontaneity and intention, fixed gesture and the innocuous uncontrolled line and ultimately give life to the surface.
Works in this exhibition arise from the compositional prompt of a four section grid. For me, the grid functions as an enabling constraint within the picture plane, which produces more creative possibilities. I consider 'the edge' as a fundamental visual threshold or boundary that can be broached, conversed with, or erased.
The geometric grid is a structure that resonates throughout our everyday environments, memories and worlds. In my search for the exciting feeling of freshness in something mundane, different qualities of line are discovered.