ACU Grad Show
Nicholas Tsekouras brings us an insight into the ACU Grad Show
To say the least, 2020 was a challenging year for all of us. For many of us artists, the escape that the Visual Arts degrees at Australian Catholic University offered was a blessing and something everyone cherished. Whilst the formalities of a typical graduate show was unable to go ahead, the 2020 graduate show still had the opportunity to present and curate their outcomes in the ACU gallery. The process of displaying our works on campus, after a majority of the year's studies being online, was cathartic. For many of us, we had never met each other in person, or if we had, it was a long time ago.
By January, the works were all displayed and all those who featured their works were welcome to come through the space and take photos in celebration. It’s always incredibly inspiring to see an exhibition come together, from the early stages of research and idea generation, to the completion of works, to curating them in a space. The fact that we weren’t able to show it to friends and family did not take away from the incredible efforts we had all poured into our works. Myself, Nicholas Tsekouras (he/they) and Jet Krusec (she/her) were amongst some of the chosen artists who had their works featured in the gallery. Both of us focused on visual art and looked introspectively in our artistic process to develop our outcomes. I chose to explore mental health and emotions while Jet decided to focus on adolescence and her personal trauma.
The materials used by each artist was dependent on the units they were taking, but also their own personal choice. The show exhibited a range of students partaking in various units, from installation, multimedia and self-directed major projects. Throughout the exhibition you can see mediums ranging from ink, watercolour, clay, acetate, found materials and books.
Ink and gouache
my therapist told me to make this and she dumped me anyway
This series centres around my adolescence where the mundane was recorded in a series of diaries but my memories of the time are blurry, painful and riddled with unanswered questions. Through distorted noise, you can hear the words of my past and through the inks, you can see the reality of them. These are bleak moments and desperate love stories that haunt me to this day. Unpacking a traumatic past that was tended to by prescription painkillers, with fresh eyes has forced me to feel compassion rather than resentment toward my teenage self.
The series can be viewed here:
The ‘drip’ collection is a series of vibrant works highlighting the emotions experienced by the human race. Each work includes and encourages the normalisation to normalise them. Society tends to have a negative outlook on expressing one’s emotions, in particular negative ones. More often than not, society suppresses their emotions as a result of these systemic beliefs which can have devastating impacts on one’s mental health. Further, mental illness is not culturally considered as a medical condition and as a result, is often misunderstood by many. Tsekouras’ collection aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and hopes to normalise talking about it by making an example of themselves showcasing their own lived experiences and takeaways through their art. Many of the artworks showcase Tsekouras in a vulnerable state. This allows the audience to view my emotions and reflect on their own experience. Tsekouras hopes that this encourages them to reflect on their own emotions and feelings throughout their lifetime and at present. In general, all artworks focus on this central theme of normalising one’s emotions and mental health and pushes this agenda in some way.
The title of the collection, ‘drip’ has been purposely decided due to its overwhelming presence in every artwork. The drip not only is symbolic of human tears, a subsequent response to human emotions such as sadness and extreme happiness but also acts as a metaphor for the accumulation and release of emotions that may be hidden inside us. By highlighting colouring, outlining, emphasising and embellishing these naturally formed drips of mediums in my work, I hope to draw attention to them and showcase them in a positive light.
The curation of the artworks together is designed to overwhelm the audience and engulf them in the ever-present emotions exhibited in the collection. It has been presented in a way that the similar meanings and messages in the works are grouped together with the installation at the forefront and centre of the 2D works. By having the installation setup in the middle of the home gallery and away from the wall, it allows the audience to literally walk in-between and around the installation, literally allowing them to be surrounded by the art.
This piece is an ode to how nature takes over old and forgotten contraptions made by man. This work is meant to look both functional and broken at the same time, as if it were an old piece of machinery, unfamiliar in its use, and almost repurposed by nature through organic felted works and the use of found metal and wooden objects to form the contraption.
This work is both a comment on the impact we have on the environment and a showcase of how nature can grow in the most incredible conditions and places.
Installation made of found objects, natural hand-dyed fabrics, string and felt, and glue.
2m (h) x 2m (w) x 1m (d)