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.

Background conversation.

Following from the first part of the project, Giddy’scurrent works continue to isolate subjects from their known environments;inserting anonymous figures, and objects into ambiguous grounds, emphasising colour,gesture, composition and expression. Throughout the series of paintings, the artist suggests elementsof humour; leaning into the satirical nature that accompanies the process of the artist adoptingand embracing the concept that he is drawing attention to. Giddy says, ‘the themesbehind these works have been becoming more and more apparent in recent times. Anidentity that was once referred to as a ‘sell-out’, is now highly encouragedand commended. People are more concerned about their online persona and,in-turn, are less immersed in their immediate environments and the peoplearound them.”

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 ingrained in our everyday and is, to a degree, essential to function in modern society. The figures are unknown 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 third and final part to the exhibition which looks at billboard style imagery in a domestic setting; a remote, abandoned farm house in regional Western Australia.

Strangers to Mortality Pt. 1

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