Artists Trail 2020
June 27 - 28
4 - 5 July
Gillian Richards | Fine Art |
Artist Trail Dates From June   

‘Originally from Melbourne, I now live and work on Australia’s Gold Coast. I am a conceptual painter, printmaker and poet who is passionate about social issues and giving voice to the extraordinary stories that are found in ordinary lives. 

My art and poetry are to provoke thought. The initial response has impact and then draws you in, asking something of the audience: questioning, reflecting, relating; a personal response and connection. My work examines, it delves and probes, it celebrates, is sometimes playful and is always authentic. The intention is to stir beyond a fleeting response to create one that is lingering and ongoing. There will be times when the relationship will be uncomfortable and challenging while other times there will joy and playfulness. In each instance, my intention is to connect with you.

STOP A WHILE…

I suppose you knows

The way today goes

Is to look past my nose

All the way to my toes

And ponder life’s hugs

And question its blows

Delight in its joys

And weep for its woes

And line up the lessons

In subsequent rows

Then take a deep breath

And face tomorrows

***

Gillian Richards

MY STORY

LIVING IN THE SHADOWS

I never felt I was in step with everyone else. I felt more like an outsider; an observer of life and never a player. Dreams and goals seemed to be for other people, they couldn’t be my story. But this ability to peel back the layers and facades people use became a significant part of my world. And as for someone’s words and behaviours…what was really going on in their lives that brought them to this point? I knew what I was thinking but remained silent. 

TRYING TO FIND MY VOICE

And so I continued to live what I called my ‘half-life’. Paradoxically, after having my children I studied education and got my Bachelor and Masters degrees. How do you connect with teenage students when you have trouble finding your voice? But I did. Again, I would look beyond words and actions to find out what was really going on for my students. Yes, I worked with the curriculum, but more importantly, I connected with them as people. I often worked tirelessly in finding ways to make learning accessible to them, and to help them gain confidence, take risks and become critical thinkers. In essence, I was helping them find their voices and the fact that I hadn’t found my own wasn’t lost on me. 

MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ILLNESS

My teaching career ended in 2015 when I was hospitalised with mental illness. Ironically, I also physically lost my voice and would continue to do so whenever stress kicked in. And so began the long journey of peeling back the layers of my own narrative. Art had always woven its way in and out of my story, but again, I was afraid of it. Even going to a gallery was something I’d shy away from because I felt it was for other people who were more worthy. The ‘players’. I continued my weekly Wednesday therapy in an effort to understand what was driving my disabling internal dialogue. In 2017 I became increasingly unwell with Parkinsonism; a side-effect from one of my medications. I struggled to do most things including swallowing, moving and writing. And in true ‘Gillian’ fashion, I became the observer, drilling down to understand what was going on, not only for me, but for my family. I felt totally loved and supported but, as I would later come to realise, I didn’t feel anywhere nearly as bad as I looked to other people. In fact, I wasn’t too bad from my perspective.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

This journey became the catalyst for me in finding my voice. And it came unexpectedly in weekly therapy where I decided to write about my story in a poem rather than an autobiography. I can’t say for certain what exactly happened but from that moment, there was an insatiable energy in me. My art and poetry became my voice. They would be my channels of examination and communication. 

AND WHAT NOW?

Through them, I will continue to look beyond the outer layers, to acknowledge the strength of the everyday strugglers, to ponder the influence of yesterdays, and to celebrate the nuances of momentary gems. I continue to be introspective and an observer but the shadows do not offer me refuge anymore. I can no longer remain silent. While my spoken words can be difficult to understand, I guess that just means people will need to listen more carefully. Listening to someone and hearing what they’re saying, doesn’t only involve audible sound. If we ‘really’ hear what’s being communicated, it is our soul and spirit that connects. My art and poetry are my conduits. How awesome is that!’

Sales: Please contact Gillian via email gillianrichardsart@gmail.com