Matthew Gillett’s life began to unravel when he was king-hit trying to break up a hotel fight. A brain haemorrhage and a stint in hospital was just the beginning – soon he was travelling the dark recesses of depression.
“Not only had my masculinity essentially been challenged, but my brain wasn’t functioning correctly and my emotions were all out of whack,” said Gillett.
Having never experienced depression before meant that it was hard to recognise the signs, let alone deal with them. “It was just a year of not knowing why I felt the way I did,” explained Gillett. “It was a merry-go-round of acting out of character, feeling like shit, apologising and then doing it all over again.”
His latest exhibition – My Art Kills Monsters – is at its core, the recipe he uses to kill, and to continue to kill, his monsters.
While the creative process has clearly been part of his healing, Gillett sees the conversation it opens as being even more crucial in breaking down the walls associated with mental illness. “Art is a really good platform to start these conversations,” said Gillett. “If you’ve got the flu, you go to the doctor, if you’re feel sh*t then go and talk to someone. That old way of just sucking it up and putting it down deep doesn’t work. It’s a lonely, dark place to be.”
Experimenting with time-lapse photography, Gillett spent a year travelling around Indonesia to paint in a variety of obscure locations – including an active Krakatoa. Each painting was accompanied by thousands of photographs which were then edited down into a three-minute film. When old friends Sticky Fingers stepped in to provide the soundtrack, the multi-media exhibition began to take shape. (GW)
Opening Thursday June 23, 6pm.