Behind the doors of an artist’s studio, and buried deep within a finished piece, lies an incredibly unique and personal process. This process is often filled with various rituals – both significant and subtle – that help to gently set the mood, or encourage that first brush stroke on a blank canvas. With this fascinating concept in mind, we invited a selection of artists to create a work, or series of works, that spoke to their own rituals, for our upcoming group exhibition, Ritual Practice.
Christopher Jewitt is a multi-disciplinary artist currently based in Melbourne. His paintings express his fixation for everyday objects in a tempest of colour and marks. He draws these objects in layers until his canvases take on a tactile and whimsical appearance, allowing for multiple angles of sense making.
Here, we chat with Christopher about his works created exclusively for Ritual Practice, as well as daily ritual of his own.
“All my paintings are created by following a set sequence of mark making. These marks are imbued with contrast, vim and vigour. Light, dark, thick and thin. It’s a balancing act from start to finish and that’s my ritual of practice; energetic, expressive,” Christopher says.
“It’s easy to loose control but tapping back into my ritual of practice helps to harmonise the process and final outcome.”
1) Tell us about a ritual that is part of your daily life – be it connected to society, community or self.
This is such an intriguing question. The one that first comes to mind, and the first of the day, is my morning ritual before I leave for work. Let me break it down for you: I wake at 5:55 am and leave for work at 6:25 am. In under 15 minutes I dress, eat, prepare my lunch and then brush my teeth; it’s the fastest I move all day! Seriously – I hardly chew my food, my lunch is a mess and it really is only a once over each tooth.
Only after this, I return to bed… Yep. I set a timer for 6:25 am, pull the bedding over me and close my eyes as if going to bed at night.
2) What does this ritual mean to you?
I’m not completely sure what this means to me. It’s like Déjà vu or groundhog day; the ‘take 2!’. In an odd way it allows me to focus on the day ahead, keep calm and carry on. Or it’s a warm bed and a few more minutes sleep. Who knows.