In Making Out Low Ground, each painting is the manifestation of a memory.
The moon projecting its gentle reflection onto the water in ‘Red Ocean’, for example, holds a story of the artists’ past: one night, Greathead and her friend went fishing and instead pulled up pig’s head that had been used as bait. That night, a storm broke out and when it subsided a supermoon emerged. Greathead speaks of ‘Red Ocean’ as “a wound that still bleeds, a mourning for that time”.
In this exhibition, loneliness, apprehension, love, and fear coalesce and are left to air-out and consolidate. The titular work, which references a tunnel Greathead drove under with her father on the way to Melbourne, at once captures these various emotional states. In this image, a car is accelerating rapidly towards an obscure landscape whose trees bear semblance to fire. While we can’t literally see a vehicle here, Greathead’s dynamic brushwork forges the impression of one and invokes a feeling that is familiar to many of us, namely the dizzying anxiety of approaching the unknown.
By recasting moments through her gestural use of paint, Gratehead conjures up an uncanny ghostliness out of the mundane. She resurrects narratives and considers the way they linger; the strangeness that pervades after the moment is imagined, distorted or lost over time. Her paintings are shrouded in a persistent elusiveness. They show how the pursuit of truth through a revisitation of the past can sometimes lead to an even greater incomprehensibility. This only makes her work more enduring and though these images are born out of personal experience, they are autonomous in their ambiguity and take on a life of their own.
Elle Charalambu, 2019