Jay McAndrew Visual Arts Gallery

Visual Arts Major Work Gallery by Jay McAndrew.

Globally, we recognise children as being a source of hope and change that will guide us into the future, yet we continue to silence, overlook and neglect them. Engulfed simultaneously depicts the global darkness felt at the loss of a child, while overturning the complacent societal inaction towards the circumstances which lead to the “unnatural” deaths of children.

More specifically, the pieces focus on the grief of a nurturing parent within a society which accepts child mortality. The pieces were inspired by the exploration of contemporary society and the universality yet personal nature of death amongst an age of social upheaval within the German Expressionist movement. Significantly influenced by the themes and loomingly elongated figures present in the work of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the entwinement of familial figures within the depictions of WWII tragedy by Käthe Kollwitz, Engulfed utilized nude figures in expressive gestural poses to enhance the overarching theme of primal grief. The use of white paint gives the sculptures the ability to be manipulated with the experiences of the audience to simultaneously highlight the forced universality of grief and the overlooked over acceptance of child mortality.

To enhance this, the use of “found” photography sees bold, white sculptures representing systematic institutions into a natural landscape as to describe the forceful entwinement of systematic death and destruction with ‘accepted societal norms’. The pieces combine expressionist figures and disturbing themes to create a level of discomfort which forces the audience to question their founded understandings of war ridden, ignorant societies which find inadequate levels of discomfort at the loss of our global children.