Mending the Psyche: Art as Reparation

Mending the Psyche: Art as Reparation

Mending the Psyche: Art as Reparation examines the ongoing process of mourning following a bereavement and the consequences of grief for the individual. Challenging the socially constructed narrative of grief as a time-limited experience, the exhibition highlights the reparative effects of art for the self, emphasising creativity as a mode of healing and the self as an entity in process. The exhibition presents this dynamic through the personal journeys of artists Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill.

Fay presents drawings highlighting the development of her practice: from her early renditions of plants; to her 10-year investigation of parental loss, searching for her lost mother who died in 1964; to recent circle drawings selected from a much larger series of nearly fifty. These drawings were initiated in 2019 following trips to Morocco and Iran and signify the possibility of some form of resolution or becoming after finding her mother again.

Judy’s recent photographs and films centre around elemental matters – from experiences of mortal illness to the composition of the earth itself. They each relate to changes of state – states of the body and changes to the volcanic matter of the earth itself in restless change. Her topics here range from her father’s final illness and death in an iron lung – emblematised as disembodied breath – the sounds and sights of which impacted her when she was one year old; to the fabulously distant light and gas carried across inter-stellar space.

The creative journeys of both artists expose the unfolding nature of grief, and the manifold ways in which art enables the person grieving to engage with their experience.

Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD

16th May-29July 2022


Related events programme supported by Birkbeck and Wellcome Trust


Creative Healing: Artistic Practice as a Reparative Act
Birkbeck Symposium 24 May 2022
Speakers: Professor Stephen Frosch, Dr Patricia Townsend, Dr Stella Bolaki, Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill.

Artist Book workshop with Stella Bolaki – 13 June 2022

Julia Samuel in Conversation with Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill – 20 June 2022

Draw your Evocative Object workshop with Fay Ballard – 30 June 2022

Marina Warner in conversation with Fay Ballard – 20 July 2022

Dust Architects: artists Nick Kaplony and Martha Orbach present – 27 July 2022