Q&A with Jaye Early - Art Collector

Courtesy: Jaye Early and Alcaston Gallery, 2016.

Jaye Early of Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne speaks to Emma O’Neill about his latest works.

The new series explores how people navigate complex and uneasy personal experiences including intimate psychological encounters with loneliness and anxiety. Why is this subject important to you? Can you explain what keeps you returning to it?
More often than not my work starts with myself. I use my own body and emotional experiences as a site and surface for art making. It is a method for me to navigate and transform my subjective experiences into visual strategies of self-disclosure. Given that, my work is less about the collective experiences of others and more about my own personal experiences.

Living within the landscape of late-capitalism where, I feel, profit is prioritised over of human worth, and kind of disconnected hyper-individualism, and disinterested autonomy, is encouraged at the expense of community, becomes a difficult place navigate. I think that’s why my work keeps returning to such themes of anxiety and loneliness – because that’s what I overwhelmingly feel. I am attracted to humour and sarcasm and I’m conscious of introducing levels of self-mockery, insincerity, and self-delusion into the work.

I have read that your pieces are largely autobiographical. Do you use your practise as a way to illuminate your own experience to the world or to yourself? Or both?
Ultimately, I would say both, as one inadvertently leads to the other. I am aware that documenting a subjective, often emotional, experience, can be problematic and perhaps boring for a largely desensitised and numb modern viewer, so I aim to consciously to avoid the use of overt sentimentality or ego, but it's challenging.

Your work engages with the boundaries between what is acceptable and taboo in a shared space. Given your work is exhibited in a shared space, do you feel that the process of displaying the works is a part of this exploration?
I think it has to be and this is a process I’m really interested in. What is and isn’t acceptable in public (and private) spaces and spheres? Who or what decides this? These are questions that motivate me.

The work of the Viennese Actionist continues to inspire my live and video-based performance work. They, ultimately, concerned themselves with exploring the authenticity of surpassed emotions in public spaces, specifically emotions relating to the brutal psychological impacts of Nazism in the Viennese and wider Austrian population. For me, their work was intelligent and brave and serves as a framework that my practice aspires to.

Your titles are very poetic. How do you formulate them? How important do you feel they are to each piece?
Thanks, I like that they come across as poetic. Most often the titles I came up with are prioritised after the work is completed. I try to establish titles as having more than a descriptive function but rather as an extension of the work. I think titles can reveal different dimensions of a work that sometimes conflicts with the expectations of the viewer. I like this potential. The process of formulating them is, at times, quick and impromptu, and at other times, more considered and measured. In the end, I go with what my instincts dictate.

What is your PhD subject? How does it enhance your practise?
My PhD is a practice-led research project. I’m utilising video and painting to look at private experiences in public spaces and the role of confessional art and its relationship to self-subjectivity.

I do feel the research has managed to enhance my practice. My experience of undertaking the PhD, so far, is that it has enabled a valuable space and speculative opportunity to question my own practice, and that has definitely provided a deeper elucidation and contextualisation of my practice.

What medium did you begin with? What pushed you to branch out into multiple media? How do you think each serves your artistic journey?
I started with painting. I think a genuine curiosity to explore what painting is and what it could be lead to me introduce, not only live and video-based performance work but also aspects of sculptural installation. My practice, I believe, is an extension of painting. I love painting a lot. I also think that given the themes I work with (confession and autobiography), the inclusion of other mediums felt like an easy and obvious progression, particularly the video work. I think because of this, it has managed to better serve and enhance my artistic journey.

Can you tell me a little bit about your forthcoming show?
The solo show in November at Alcaston gallery will comprise mostly medium-large scale painting work, and perhaps some accompanying sculptural installation that look at themes relating to my PhD research.

What else is coming next for you?
I have a painting in a group show called Provenance Does Matter: Living with contemporary Art Part 2 in a gallery at the back of Valentines Antiques in Bendigo, Victoria from August 27. I am also hoping to do an artist talk there.

Emma O'Neill
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