While the word ‘rainforest’ conjures pretty postcard images of lofty trees, misty ferns and dappled, sunlit pools, the forest floor is a much darker, messier tangle of detritus and decay. On the surface, renowned Brisbane/Sydney artist Grant Stevens’ latest solo exhibition is an exploration of that space beneath the canopy — however, this is no nature documentary. The rainforest is merely a catalyst for a much deeper question: what troubles lie in the undergrowth of the human psyche?
In Dark Mess, Stevens combines video, sound, photography and installation to engage multiple senses in a somewhat unsettling self-examination. Just as the lightness and beauty of a rainforest canopy disguises the murkier depths below, the constant strive for happiness and self-improvement can hide our own darker, messier selves.
Dark Mess opens at Boxcopy on July 25, with the exhibition continuing to August 29.
Image: Grant Stevens, 'Dark Mess', 2015, production image, courtesy the artist and Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney.