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Artist Talk with PSC's Lecturer Jessica Ledwich at Her Exhibition 'Messy Beautiful'

Posted by Social Media on 16/04/2021 11:57:51 AM

PSC's Lecturer Jessica Ledwich explores our 'Shadow Selves' in her latest exhibition 'Messy Beautiful'. It explores culture surrounding the body, sexuality and sensuality – all aspects which are often revealed through the shadow self. It includes photography, installation and sound which all explore the complexities of being human.

Held at Edge Galleries in Maldon, Victoria, it features a secret confessions installation at ‘Edge Below’ which is an 1860s cellar space.

Meet Jessica at her artist talk this Saturday 17 April at 11am. Bookings are essential – call 0400 337 301 to reserve your place for FREE. ⁠⁠

Jessica Ledwich

© Jessica Ledwich, ‘Messy Beautiful 05’, 2021

 

Can you unpack the concept of the 'shadow-self' and where does it come from?

The shadow self is an aspect of our personality that contains parts of ourselves that we want to hide. It is the primitive, carnal, impulsive and reverse aspects of our psyche which we seek to deny because it may make us feel shameful. It represents parts of us that we don’t dare claim as our own. Although the notion of a shadow may be seen as ‘negative’ this isn’t the case. We all have a shadow self and for each of us it will be different. Think of any selfish, judgemental or devious thought that has crossed your mind - that is your shadow self at play. My photographic work explores culture surrounding the body, sexuality and sensuality - all aspects which are often revealed through the shadow self. This exhibition Messy Beautiful includes photography, installation and sound which all explore the complexities of being human. 

 

© Jessica Ledwich, 'Pleasure in Darkness, Messy Beautiful', 2021

 

How did you get the public involved via calling out for anonymous submissions?

When I visited the gallery space Simon Dow (gallery director and ex PSC student of mine) showed me ‘Edge Below’ which is an 1860s cellar space. I was so struck by how the space felt quite sacred. I have been interested in the shadow self for a while as this has formed part of my photographic work and I immediately thought about creating a site specific work as part of the exhibition. I put a call out through social media channel for people to submit aspects of their shadow selves through my website, with the idea of creating ‘confession sessions’. I received a number of submissions and I was really fascinated by what people chose to share and these form part of the Shadow Self piece.  I felt it was very important that visitors to the gallery hear these submissions unedited. 

The response to the work has been overwhelming - I think people have found it incredibly powerful being in the presence of so much courage and vulnerability.

 

MB_03

© Jessica Ledwich, ‘Messy Beautiful 03’, 2021

 

Can you share a confession that made it into your art work?

I’m not going to share any specifics, as I encourage everyone to come and experience it! However, I will say that they are varied, with everything from feelings about motherhood, family secrets, fantasies and struggles with body image and identity. The hope is that visitors can find a moment of personal identification - that we ALL have aspects that challenge our vision of ourselves or how we would like to be perceived. And that it is these aspects which make us human.

 

Jessica Ledwich with Edge Galleries Owner Simon Dow at the opening of Messy Beautiful.

 

How did this exhibition with Simon, your former PSC student, come about?

Simon mentioned that he and his partner were moving to Maldon in Victoria which I am very familiar with as I grew up in central Victoria. So, when a few months later he invited me to come see the space I immediately wanted to make work for it. Simon has a very particular vision about championing photography which is thought provoking, that creates a dialogue and isn’t afraid to explore themes and go to places that perhaps other gallery spaces may step back from. So when he asked if I would consider being the solo show to launch the gallery, I had no hesitation.

 

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Photo from the opening of Messy Beautiful at Edge Galleries in Maldon 

How does your art start a conversation with the public?

I strongly believe that the role of art is in part to provoke. It is about starting a dialogue and engaging viewers and inviting them to consider their thoughts and feelings in relation to the themes and ideas being explored. You don’t want to tell people what to think but allow them space to consider their position. My work comes from a very intuitive place - and the process is very explorative. I keep working the elements until suddenly I feel “that’s the picture”.

The interesting part is then presenting the work to the public and hearing their responses. At the opening I had so many people telling me what they ‘felt’ which was amazing because I want people to engage with my work from an emotional perspective. The fascinating thing is people see all sorts of things in my pictures which often were not intended by me. I love this because it means the work gives room for people to make their own projections.  With regards to Shadow Self, I do hope that when people listen to the 'confessions' that they can relate to some of the ideas, thoughts and feelings shared in the submissions. 

As a side note I am continuing the Shadow Self project so people can still submit through my website for inclusion in future works. It is entirely anonymous so they can feel free to be very honest. Submit your confessions here. 

Meet Jessica at her artist talk this Saturday 17 April at 11am. Bookings are essential – call 0400 337 301 to reserve your place for FREE. ⁠⁠

Messy Beautiful runs till 1 May at Edge Galleries, 35 Main Street, Maldon, Victoria.

Follow Jessica on Instagram @jessicaledwich_artist

 

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