Bruxism | solo exhibition by QSS artist Amy Higgins
Opening event: Thursday 7th October 2021, from 6pm
General opening hours (no booking required): Tuesday-Thursday, 10.30am – 5pm
-The unconscious mind is a source of artistic truth-
Bruxism is a term for grinding teeth in your sleep, something the artist has endured for a long time. Teeth grinding is an action of the subconscious; an unsettling, traumatic act that can subconsciously place the weight of a horse on the jaw; a powerful, internal feat that is reflected strongly in Higgin’s work. Accordingly, the exhibition at QSS has been created through the dark lens of lived experience with bruxism viewed alongside its unwelcome bedfellow, night terrors. This phenomenon can leave the sufferer unexpectedly “bolt upright” with their eyes wide open and a look of fear and panic on their faces. They will often yell, scream, or attempt to speak, though such speech is often incomprehensible. Collectively, these experiences are expressed as hallucinatory, bizarre or frightening imagery and installation.
Higgins has used the unusual and vast gallery space to interrupt the reading of a typical gallery hang. The use of fabric and drapery echo the fabric within the paintings, adding to the theatrics of the surface and its surrounds. The fabrics have been used to enhance the embodiment of looking, the part of you, the viewer, and their relationship with the work. The show places the viewer within the work, with the substance pressing down on the space, cloaking the atmosphere and provoking the act of looking. This feeling is emboldened through the viewer’s participation in the show through action; opening and closing, walking, tilting, peering and pondering. Knowingly, there is a nod towards Magritte’s painting La condition humaine, where the viewer’s perception plays a role in the paintings creation. All of which are ‘acts of looking’ and presence, and a pathway to become a part of the environment or realm.
About the Artist
Amy Higgins was awarded a BA Hons and Masters of Fine Art from the Ulster University, Belfast. During her masters degree, she was influenced strongly by Barbara Creed’s Monstrous Feminine and Hannah Arendt’s notions of the Human Condition. Her recent work explores the idea of ‘metaphysical place’ and an awareness of ‘position’ from a viewer’s perspective. Geometric shape and strong grid-like lines are a common feature of her work, whilst the use of dark palettes is reminiscent of Dutch masters and frequently mirrors the tone of her subject matter.