Conveying the stages of grief
BA (Hons) Fine Art student, Louanne Metcalfe used her own experience of grief to inspire her final major project.
Louann shares her own personal journey through a mixed media piece of works entitled ‘Elements of Grief’, which was also awarded Outstanding Practice at the School of Art Design and Fashion Degree Shows last month.
Tell us a bit about your final project.
It started with an exploration in visually representing the emotions experienced during the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Not only conveying the stages of grief but also attempting to show the positives that I believe can come from grief, and to encourage conversations surrounding death and loss. This conversation is important to better our understanding of the emotional journey that follows changes presented by loss and to remind us that no one is alone in their experience of grief.
My work explores an effect of culture on the process of grieving, and how one’s expression of emotions is limited or delimited by a cultural process. My work, a mixed media piece entitled Elements of Grief, visually explores expression of emotion during grief through hanging sculptural paintings shown alongside photographic prints of ink on plastic over light.
My work aims to highlight the celebration of life in death, with the intention to encourage and normalise conversation surrounding loss and grief in order to create a society emotionally prepared and supported in times of loss, no longer fearful of our own mortality.
What was the inspiration behind your project?
I started to create work dealing with themes such as loss and grief after one of my best friends passed away quite suddenly; she was young and healthy and her death was a shock. The work I was making was driven by my own need to understand my emotions and my experience with grief. Geoff Warburton’s Ted Talk ‘The Adventure of Grief’ in 2012 inspired me to further my research; this led me to studying artists such as Rose-Lynn Fisher whose piece ‘Topography of Tears’ documents a tears appearance under a microscope showing how a change in emotion creates a visible change in the tear.
What have you enjoyed most about your time at Solent?
The best thing about studying at Solent for fine art is how passionate the tutors are, encouraging us to push our work and ideas to their full potential.
I’ve enjoyed meeting people from all different backgrounds and making friends for life, it feels weird that I won’t be seeing them all on a daily basis anymore but I know we’ll all stay in touch.
What’s next for you?
After two years of studying art and design in college, a year studying fine art at foundation level and three years studying fine art at university, I’ve decided to take a year out from education to take time and really explore my options.
Any tips for other students or potential students?
Make sure you know how to cook at least basic meals before you come to university, learn how to use a washing machine and how to wash up your dishes – it’s amazing how quickly people fall out over hygiene standards when you’re living in close proximity! Also, don’t panic when looking for your first student house after halls, it’s not rude to be thorough in looking around for the best deal for your money. The most important bit of advice though, is remember to have fun, take time out and don’t over stress yourself when you don’t need to.
Find out more about our art courses here.