This is the one page artist's statement I wrote to go on the wall for my art as therapy exhibition which opens in a few day's time. With some of the artworks.
Speak is a second solo art as therapy exhibition by Xanthe Wyse. Xanthe’s first art as therapy exhibition, Spinning Orbit was two years ago. Spinning Orbit was messy, raw and intense artwork to help calm Xanthe’s mind while on a challenging journey towards stabilising bipolar disorder with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Snowball, a cat is a metaphorical self-portrait of a child who was frozen and trying to speak. Snowball was the final painting for Spinning Orbit and was not for sale because Xanthe was in a process writing a semi-autobiographical novel called Pet Purpose, which is nearly complete. The main character also has bipolar and PTSD.
Xanthe is now ready to part with Snowball, hoping she will go to a good home. Xanthe didn’t have prices for Spinning Orbit as she didn’t want people to judge her art as ‘not good enough’ (Xanthe is also diagnosed with social anxiety disorder). Thirteen pieces sold via tender.
Speak is a collection of artworks since Spinning Orbit while continuing to process PTSD while managing bipolar disorder.
Xanthe prefers acrylics on canvas for most of her artworks. She also likes to make art from re-purposed materials. CouRage, a sculpture of a bird-dragon was made from re-purposed materials including cut up paintings left over from Spinning Orbit.
Xanthe usually listens to music on a loop that fits her mood while she paints. This helps override her analytical thinking and perfectionist tendencies so she uses her intuition and feels free to experiment and express without inhibition. Gentle release and transformation takes place while processing at deeper levels than talking.
All the paintings are linked and tell complex stories with symbolism and metaphor. Most of the paintings have multiple layers. Visual arts speak a language that words cannot express. Music taps into deep emotion.
Xanthe’s first love was playing piano. When her name used to be Miranda. She legally changed her name. She hasn’t been able to play for years after trauma linked to the piano. She wants to reclaim that in the next part of her journey and any proceeds from the exhibition will be used to invest in an electric piano. Improvised patterns on piano were a way for her to express emotions shut down with PTSD.
Creative expression has been a huge part of integrating the parts of herself that were shattered by trauma. Letting go of the pain with the memories. Transforming into who she is today. No longer avoid to have a voice.
Speak art as therapy exhibition is at Red Rock Gallery, 63 Raywood Crescent, Ashwood Park, Taupo, New Zealand. Saturday 19 September to Tue 22 September 2020, 10am to 4pm daily.
Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her mental health diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).