Melbourne-based artist Cally Lotz explores concepts of containment, austerity and isolation within the psychological context. Lotz creates articulations of these inward contemplations across a series of representational still life paintings that convey simplistic ordinary objects as metaphors to examine profound notions of interiority. Plastic bottles, buckets and glass jars, alongside parcels wrapped in string or bound by tape appeal to audience thought and observation in this exhibition titled ‘Stiff Upper Lip’, which is currently showing online at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne until 18 April.
A ‘stiff upper lip’ refers to a person’s ability to endure an impassive or restrained state of being in times of personal hardship as a way to protect their deepest emotions and maintain composure. The philosophy of self-determined discipline such as this can be traced back to the Spartans in Ancient Greek times where it was seen as a practice of great fortitude.
The ordinary objects depicted throughout this body of work are symbolised by implied metaphorical meaning in the title of each composition, such as Empty, Night Bottles, Bagged, Taped, Bound and Boxed, Protected, Parcelled, Loose, What If, Unravelling and Beyond Symbolism, which result in beautiful meditative transformations of the everyday and present as a visual provocation to reflect on our own ulterior being.
Noting the artist’s intentions the gallery shares, “By depicting mundane objects, Lotz maintains a detached and remote stance from any given narrative. Instead she allows her attention to dwell on the formal and material aspects of representational painting. The motifs exist only as empty signifiers enabling a deeper and more meaningful investigation into the issue of containment.”
“Lotz has become aware that still life painting can create a strange presence between what we call reality and what psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan calls ‘the real’. Ordinary objects can be shaped into profound statements on containment and trauma.”