Jacqui Driver Solo Exhibition
Redbase Art Gallery is proud to present Embodiment, a solo exhibition by Sydney-based artist Jacqui Driver. A showcase of multi-panel lithographs and printed silk installations completed between 2020 to 2022, the set of works comment on the ideals of motherhood succumbed and subsumed by contemporary society and ancestral inheritance. A long-established practitioner of lithography, sculpture, and installation, Driver’s practice will once again contemplate the disquiet contours and shadows embodied in the Australian natural landscape as a response to the rupture and repair which inevitably strangle and (re)sprout family interconnectedness.
Driver’s art is intimate but confrontational. In Feed Me (2021) sprouting seeds crane hungry mouths – like helpless hatchling chicks – while in Nest (2022) a conspicuous void – the hatchlings having seemingly departed –appears determined to fight and penetrate into the viewer’s perspective, so as to not suffer the same fate attached to all nests: abandonment. An experiential metaphor to the restless and unsettledness of inter-generational connection, there is a perturbed uneasiness that comes with the love, fear, shame, self-blame, pride and possessiveness between mother and child.
Uncompromising, Driver’s works also strip back organic life: down to its bone-white skeletal shrubbery. Gradients of soft tones and shading common with monochrome techniques often lay demure in the foreground, instead life in the undergrowth dominate through the revelation of negative space and agitated shadow. Mother Blame (2021) and Covid Anxiety (2020) foreground parched twiggy limbs to frame conspicuous rockfaces fracturing histological grievances. The artist states: “That rocky surface is the surface of my organs, skin, bones. People don’t realise that Rheumatoid Arthritis isn’t just pain in the joints, it’s pain throughout the entire body; it breaks the entire body…It’s the texture of trauma…it’s like mothering caught in the thicket”.
In Where Weeds Grow (2022) and Where Weeds Dwell (2021) transformation transpires through labour and toil: the slow movement as well as physicality between each strand of vegetation emphasising the passage of time. There is a sense of growth and regrowth; as if life’s ephemeral splendour is for but-a-moment revealed and at peace. It is obvious Driver’s subject – the dense pageantry of the thicket – is therefore a symbol of exclusion, exhaustion and domination but also of resilience, grit and survival. “The thickets of all thickets” in the exhibition, Intangible (2021) thus shows entanglement akin to interconnected neurons. Transmitting the ideals and ideas of motherhood, the interconnectedness of genetics and mind a profound determinant to the cause and effect with respect to inheritance and mental illness. Such is life; and the interweaving of earthly realities.
The works in this solo exhibition is inspired by Jacqui Driver’s photography of drought-stricken geology and flora coating Sydney’s coastline, with dense thickets, thistles and thorns stubbornly meandering, growing – and then outgrowing – twisted states of entanglement. The uncompromising landscape framing the paradox of existence inspiring the artist to meditate through the physicality of working with laboursome inkstones and lithography: on each stone she tattoos, with exasperating toil and detail, the negative space and shadows of childhood, motherhood, aging and human biology. Jacqui Driver is a long time sufferer of childhood trauma, anxiety and physical disability.