25th of November - 23rd of December
Vic Park Art Framers,
703 Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park
In his most recent body of work, “Strangers to Mortality” James Giddy explores themes of mass consumerism in late capitalism. Employing symbolic references, we witness Giddy “selling out” his own name; an extension of the age of individuality and branding belonging to our commodification of online social realms. This solo exhibition sits within an ongoing exploration of the human condition and relationship within the Australian environment and landscape.
Giddy’s works beg questions on conformity, whilst exploring an idyllic emptiness that is experienced when a subject, and its context, are separated. Using his own surname, Giddy has reworked familiar products and brands, inserting them amongst everyday figures and subjects. The insertion of his own name furthers a comment on the social influence, that relies on one’s name to be everywhere and anywhere to remain relevant, encouraging and celebrating an identity that was once referred to as a “sell-out”. By inserting stark and jarring objects, or imagery, into often calm and gentle arrangements, Giddy initiates a taste of humour and contrast, drawing attention to the composition, texture and expression of the subjects and how they interact with the said object or imagery.
To extend and exaggerate the conversation, billboard style imagery has been painted, and documented, in a house in the Western Australian wheatbelt. The installation comments on the extent of the reach and the impact that advertising has in one’s everyday life. This exhibition is a preview of the ongoing works that are site specific to the domestic wheatbelt setting.
With his name-turned-brand the artist encourages the audience to bring their own contextual understanding to the works whilst highlighting modern society’s inability to logically deal with the concept of death; an inevitable part of life.
Following from a successful solo exhibition, 'Spectator', in 2020, Giddy’s current works continue to isolate subjects from their known environments; inserting figures,animals and objects into ambiguous and atmospheric grounds, emphasising colour, gesture and expression.
With his new works, Giddy further scrutinizes his subjects, captivating and calming the audience through the use of aesthetic compositions and design elements, whilst suggestions of humour keep them engaged. Many of the basic methods have been taken from successful branding and advertising and intend to draw this link directly, conversing on a truth that most people are well aware of. Giddy says,‘the themes behind these works are becoming more and more apparent in recent times. An identity that was once referred to as a ‘sell-out’, is now highly encouraged and commended. A lot of people are less immersed in their immediate environments and also less so in the people around them, and more consumed by the persona they have created on their social platforms. From a creator’s perspective,we are rewarded through the algorithms for putting out more content, rather than good content. This can be detrimental to an artist’s integrity and encourages a fleeting and trending attitude towards the works.”
Looking at casual subjects, often figures and moments we would not expect to see documented and highlighted, brings conscious the acknowledgement that the consumer culture is engrained in our everyday and is, to a degree, essential to function in modern society. The figures are often masked by sunglasses and are generally depicted in bathing garments or casual attire, broadcasting familiarity and an un-apologetic comfort; they are people, for the people.
Giddy has been furthering this body of work with an installation in rural WA and intends to host a second part to the exhibition in 2023, which looks at billboard style imagery in a domestic setting; a remote, abandoned farm house in regional Western Australia.