Until 1 September 2014, Outside In artists Mat JimDogArt and Keith Fitton have an exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre Warehouse Cafe, Kendal. The two very different artists share common ground in their use of creativity to explore and survive complex physical and mental health conditions. The works on display reflect their belief in the creative process as a powerful healing tool. Here, Mat JimDogArt introduces the two artists and the show.
Keith Fitton started painting again after a motorcycle accident in which he lost his right arm. He learned to paint with his left arm despite suffering chronic neurological pain. He uses watercolour, brush and ink, charcoal and pastel in a variety of styles whilst pursing his own direction of expression.
He says: “I am inspired by what lies around me, yet can’t help but explore the darker recesses of my fertile imagination sometimes. I also hope to bring some lightness and fun into my work, especially with the Zen series of pen and ink drawings. With this series I’m interested in exploring coalescence and the nature of naming. These drawings are exercises in line and space, black and white, and whatever lies between.”
I started painting whilst in hospital after attempting suicide. A result of childhood abuse, serious long term depression, schizoid tendencies and the consequences of poor diabetic control. This left me in pain from neuropathy, damaged eyesight and numbness in hands and feet. I uses oils and create 3D work from the “debris” of my medications. I have been inspired by my past, my conditions and a need to express the complication inside that I can’t express in words. This is a collection of work that represents key moments and issues in my life. Despite the dark subject matter it is expressed in colourful imagery.
Keith and I met while both giving speeches about work we had in the Outside In North West 2013 exhibition at Tullie House. Whilst listening to each other we realised we had some very common ground and shared beliefs about the benefit of being creative. On talking this became even more apparent, even though the style and media we create with are very different.
This exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre, ‘Fear and Belief’, reflects the two factors that make up the complex relationship in our creativity. There is the fear of the past, the pain, what the future might bring. Alongside this is the belief that by being creative we can tame our fear, express it or temper it in order to cope.
We view the act of creating as a pure moment where the artist and the work are the focus, providing relief and escape from our problems. The resulting artwork has a similar value as it enables us to communicate in a visual language that maintains that purity and continues to provide release through the satisfaction of the creative act and the sharing of the artwork.
Although very different, our two styles sit well side by side and provide a visual feast which we hope will give the audience an insight into our worlds and minds.
To find out more about the exhibition, click here.