Mel Brown    


Music Box

Vertigo Of Being

My body of work addresses the divergence between how the world presents and how it is. It utilises the notion of vertigo (a disordered state of mind and things), as a metaphor for shifting states of reality. It speaks of the sense of disturbance that bring tremors to the organization of life and the warping of human experience. My work brings into question the stability of perception, through devices such as the inversion of chronological time, re-enactments of past memories as ways of looking at the world, through looking backwards and then juxtaposing these memories with the present. 
Vertigo comes from the Latin word ‘volvere’, which means to turn. The underlying impetus lies in the momentum of a life experienced – an insight into the turnings of my own life. In this sense, my work is both contemporary and historical. Whilst the autobiographical content has been the primary source of reference, the intention is to engage the viewer in broader concepts such as loss, the ephemeral, the gaze, the repressed and binaries such as reality/ illusion, interior/ exterior, artificial/ real, control/ out of control, concepts that may trigger a sense of vertigo in daily living.

My work begins with car Park 34, a performance and video installation. It looks at the spiraling nature of life and the exertion experienced when trying to control one’s destiny. Set in a contemporary labyrinth, it speaks of the monumental and the transitory qualities of life in a slowing down of time. In my nose Gay Installation, I have also plucked the nosegay motif (a metaphor for the life/ death cycle) from Hitchcock’s film, and produced a 3D installation, re- inventing an earlier theme of controlling/ not controlling one’s destiny. In nose Gay, hair becomes both souvenir and relic. In posy, 2007, I grabbed film stills from Hitchcock’s Vertigo, edited the images and created paintings that speak of ‘memento mori’ and address the awful forward movement of our own existence.
In the following series of tonal realist paintings of 2008, red Dress, doll Face and music Box, I use the device of calling up childhood memories and feelings and reasserting them against adult reality, offering a sense of disquietude and things strangely unnatural. In the red Dress series, the childhood memory is of watching my mother get dressed for the annual ball and wondering about the mystery of adult life, as she disappeared into the night. I dressed an aerialist in my mother’s gown and have painted her manoeuvres struggling for balance and coherence against the momentum of the trapeze (or perhaps adult life). In doll Face, appearances are questioned, as the virtual and the real play out to the turnings of the music box doll.
 In the music Box series, I elucidate the key themes of the vertigo of Being and bring together aspects formally and conceptually handled in most other works. The viewer is invited to the underside of life. Here things come to surface as reality takes a slide into disquietude within the unsettling positioning of childhood and adult spaces.

Proxemic | Roller Grrls | Rah Rah | Vertigo of Being