Gallery Girl presents Hidden Visions

Those who follow me on Facebook will have noticed that the Gallery Girl page is hosting an exhibition. This show will open on Tuesday 14th April and run until Sunday 19th April in the Chelsea Gallery, inside Chelsea Town Hall.

The exhibition, which has been titled Hidden Visions is being staged in an attempt to address the talents of young artists from London and the home counties, who have been affected by mental illness and address it within their work.

The artists are: Maeve Buckenham, Miranda Chance, Darcy Keverian, Bethany Lamont, Stephanie Linne, Tom Plumptre and John Michael Taylor. The name Hidden Visions was chosen to title the show, as mental illness is invisible and very often concealed due to shame or fear caused by the negative stigma surrounding it. The word vision symbolises the notion that visions are very often mental, as well as the fact that the very nature of all art is visual.

The show consists of seven artists, both male and female who cover a range of conditions and media from photography to sculpture. Having suffered from anorexia myself, the idea for the exhibition was inspired by the magnitude of art exhibitions in London that addressed social issues concerning young people. These are often concern topics such as politics or feminism, however I had never seen anything addressing mental illness. The idea for Hidden Visions was spurred by the dissatisfaction with the stigma associated with mental health and lack of its exposure within the arts. I wanted to make people aware of mental health in a format that wouldn’t preach or try to complicate it with facts and figures. By using art as a tool, words are taken out of the equation. Hopefully the exhibition will provide a visual platform for the artists to express how mental illness has affected them and make people think about mental health issues in a different way.

The artists come from a wide range of backgrounds, some of whom have degrees in fine art whilst others are students of such contrasting disciplines as medicine and Chinese, with other artists who make their art outside of other careers, showing that mental health is something that affects many of us. National statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show that mental illness will affect one in four of us in our lifetime. The Time to Change campaign has explained that the portrayal of those suffering from mental health issues in the media are often shown as one of two extremes: as violent or ‘tragic victims’, with characters often being referred to in a discriminatory way. Hidden Visions aims to dispel these negative stereotypes by illustrating that those afflicted by mental distress should not be defined by their illness only.

Throughout history, many artists such as Frida Kahlo and Vincent van Gogh have been the target of mental maladies, yet it did not hinder their work. Thanks to funding from O2 Think Big, I have done my best to ensure that Hidden Visions will provide a different view of young people suffering from poor mental health, and I am certain that these incredibly talented artists will captivate you with their talent.

The exhibition will be on display at Chelsea Gallery, entrance via Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5EE from Tuesday 14 to Sunday 19 April.

For more information on the show and the artist’s taking part click here

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer and curator. She is the founder of Gallery Girl - a London-based curatorial platform and website dedicated to modern and contemporary art from across the globe. Her work is primarily focused on supporting emerging female artists from the Middle East and the Caucasus. She has written for Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, Suitcase and Vice Arabia among other publications. Her exhibitions in London and Armenia have been featured in Vogue Arabia, The Art Newspaper, The Art Gorgeous and numerous other news outlets. Gallery Girl has also spoken in the UK, UAE and Belgium about the contemporary art scene in the MENA region, and is planning further events in London and Amman.

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