In Profile: De Gillett

| December 6, 2012

MM: Tell us a little about your artistic background.
DG: I’ve been a practicing professional artist for 20 years, and in 2009 I decided I would take three years away from the harsh realities of real life, and finally attain the Bachelor of Fine Art I’ve wanted since I was sixteen. Seeing I’d just turned 48, it was about time I finally made that jump. At that point, I was entirely self-taught, and was really confused about the world of contemporary art. QCA has given me intellectual rigour within my practice; something I couldn’t do by myself no matter how hard I tried.

MM: What mediums do you work within?
DG: The traditional mediums of oils and acrylics, and all drawing mediums like charcoal, graphite, pastel etc. I sculpt in clay, wax, and bronze. And some very non-traditional uses of ink that are my own invention.

MM: Do you have a creative process or are you more candid in your approach?
DG: For me, the creative process starts with what I call the “grit”, or the “hook”. It’s something that gets me excited, over the form, the colour, the movement, or maybe the joy inherent in something. It’s a wide field; I’m an excitable woman! The grit starts me collecting the layers of information that will eventually coalesce as the artwork — it’s a bit like a pearl forming. Sometimes it takes years before that jotting in my visual journal will manifest for me, sometimes the whole thing consumes me and a day later I know exactly where I am going with it.

MM: Who and/or what inspires you? Is there a particular art movement you associate with?
DG: I love the Italian Futurists for their joy in movement, though mine is more organic. Huge fan of Norman Lindsay, for his overt eroticism — same reason I adore Brett Whiteley and Frantisek Kupka. Also, Francoise Nielly for the directness and intensity of her portraiture.

MM: How would you describe your style?
DG: Recklessly sumptuous. I work in many styles from a delicate photo-realism to an intensely impasto pandemonium, but it is always far from politely well-mannered.

MM: Is there anything in particular you wish to achieve within the creative community?
DG: I hope to make work that brings joy to the viewer. I’d love to think that I can bring a positive emotion into someone’s day, that enriches their stay on the planet. I’d also like to think that people can react to my work with their whole being; not a considered cerebral reaction, but a gut-wrenching bucket of arousal poured directly into their psyche.

MM: What is this body of work titled?
DG: Sharia Subrosa.

MM: What are you trying to express through this series? Is there a story?
DG: This is the body of work developed throughout my final year at QCA. It discusses the ridiculous reality that for many decades, beautiful images of beautiful women have been considered too problematic for inclusion into the contemporary art world. I have used silken drapery to discuss both the presence and the absence of beauty outside of popular culture since post-modernism and feminism began to hold sway over philosophy and art theory.

MM: Was there anything or anyone that significantly influenced this body of work?
DG: My lecturer, Tim Mosely, was absolutely fundamental in pushing me to develop an argument that supported my ideas. Tim pointed me at critical discourse that allowed me to include the “problematic” female figure which some of my other lecturers found, well…too problematic. To make my point, the work itself had to be beautiful, so I spent a lot of time investigating the methods used to portray fabrics in the works of the old Masters. I chose to work in oils because digital reproduction still has such trouble with reproducing reds, and part of what I wanted to say was about new work being informed by the past, rather than the past being negated by new work and thought.

MM: What was involved in transforming your initial idea into a tangible product?
DG: I started with drawings of draped models made from life. These drawings explored the way drapery has been used across centuries to conceal and reveal the woman beneath.  Along the way, I discovered things like the notion that Muslim men are forbidden to wear silk. Using silk for these works hence tied in with my desire to reunite the feminine beautiful with the masculine sublime. I wanted to create work that allowed a haptic engagement — a full bodied immersive experience where you really get to know it on a visceral level.

MM: What do you hope people take away from this collection?
DG: I hope people find an acceptance in that yes, women are beautiful, silken, sensuous creatures, and we must celebrate them as such in order to have any authenticity. Beauty is often seen as deleterious to the meaning of a work, and I hope that I have shown that this is not necessarily the case.

MM: Where can our readers check out more of your work?
DG: My website and my Facebook page.

  • Sharia Subrosa Sharia Subrosa
  • Sharia Subrosa: Recumbent Sharia Subrosa: Recumbent
  • Roseate Veil Roseate Veil
  • A Modern Woman A Modern Woman
  • Veiled Veiled
  • Wet Silk Wet Silk

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Category: IN PROFILE

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