Challenging popular culture’s negative perception of mental health, artist George Harding’s exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery seeks to shows that ‘There is Good in Us’. 1 in 4 people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some stage in life, yet recent research by Mind, the mental health charity, shows that attitudes to mental illness are getting worse. And for many the stigma is harder to deal with than the illness itself.
Speaking about his work George says: “these paintings are of self portraits, and portraits of artists, friends, family and mental health professionals who have guided and helped me through my mental health problems. Together they have given me perspective on a journey through to the other side where there is hope in being able to cope with my illness. The work encourages people to look at “us” in a way that is celebratory, unconventional and can teach us something about different ways of being.”
George is a fine artist based in Bristol. He is a graduate of University of the Arts London, Chelsea and his work has attracted the attention of galleries and collectors in both London and Bristol. His practice explores how the real is viewed and interpreted, incorporating elements of painting through different approaches, one of which is portraiture. His portraits celebrate and explore the individual’s character and essence. Through the act of painting George aims to illustrate the personal connection between the artist and sitter. His self-portraits begin with photographs in the mist of a shower mirror surface that fragments, distorts and dissolves the figure. Using painting techniques of blurring and pointillism his work abstracts the real into colour and light showing a dissociation from reality. He is inspired by many Impressionist painters, their use of colour and light, as well as the life stories of many of these artists. Other inspirations include, Edvard Munch and Gerhard Richter.
Opening Event: 7th March, 3 – 6pm
Exhibition continues: 8th – 30th March
Opening times: Wed, Thurs, Friday, 11am – 6pm
Gallery & Museum open Saturday 10th March, 11am – 6pm