It was with great excitement I received the news that I’d been selected to exhibit at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in February 2018. The exhibition had already started taking form, so I continued my journey into the Nuances of Life. This exhibition draws on my background and interest in psychology and human behaviour, and it has allowed me to create work that express views and ideas that I feel are important for us to embrace as human beings.

Nuances of Life – Solo Exhibition

“Bobby Brush-Head – On a Good Day” Assemblage. Artist Gitte Backhausen

It was with great excitement I received the news that I’d been selected to exhibit at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in February 2018. The exhibition had already started taking form, so I continued my journey into the Nuances of Life. 

This exhibition draws on my background and interest in psychology and human behaviour, and it has allowed me to create work that express views and ideas that I feel are important for us to embrace as human beings.

The ideas underpinning this body of work started on a morning walk. I came across a poster outside a newsagent with the words “A day without laughter is a day wasted”. I thought to myself, what a narrow-minded statement. I’m not against laughing and I think it’s wonderful to approach life with a sense of humour, I think it’s crucial actually. However, I also see something else in those words.I see society’s tendency to bombard us with suggestions of positive thinking and the glorification of the so called ‘positive feelings’. I see avoidance of the broad spectrum of feelings that life presents us with. I see a recipe for denial, a sense of failure, disconnection to ourself and others and unrealistic goals of happiness.

In my exploration of the subject it was interesting to find that research* shows that aiming for happiness can lead to low mood and even depression. Having happiness as a goal is bound to fail, as life is so much more than that. As suggested by social researcher and author Hugh McKay**, we need to embrace the whole spectrum of feelings that life presents us with and focus on our values to create a meaningful life. Only aiming for happiness will only lead to a sense of failure an we will miss out on the many nuances of life.

With this body of work, I take a stand against the focus on happiness as a goal and celebrates all aspects of life, through assemblage art and poems.

Writing has always been part of my life, it has been a great tool for my own personal journey. I’d never considered it to be part of my artistic practice, but little poems started showing up along with my assemblage work. That is the beauty of the creative process, it’s full of surprises.

I was honoured to be selected to show at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery and had the opportunity to share this work with you.

I hope it pleases your eyes,

make you laugh and make you cry.
Make you think and reflect,
and treat all feelings with respect.

A huge thank you to Gina Fairley for the opening speech and the wonderful team at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery. Also a big thank you to all of you joining me at the opening and visiting my exhibition throughout February, I am truly grateful for your support, it matters!

Exhibition runs until 3rd March 2018.

Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
12 Berry St. Nowra, NSW.

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday 10am – 2pm
(Sunday & Monday Closed)

You can now view the full body of work and poems here. Purchase by calling Shoalhaven Regional Gallery on ph: (02) 4429 5444 now.

*In a series of new studies led by psychologist Iris Mauss, the more value people placed on happiness, the less happy they became: Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? [corrected] Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Mauss IB, Tamir M, Anderson CL. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 2012, Jan.;11(4):1931-1516.

**McKay, Hugh. ‘The Good Life – What makes a Life worth Living” Pan Macmillan Australia 2013.

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