SURFACE TENSION - Brisbane Powerhouse, November 2020
'SURFACE TENSION' encourages dialogue around significant mental health and relationship challenges due to the Covid-19 lockdowns. In this body of work, Rick Hayward distills research by the Australian National University showing that “[T]here is a particularly strong relationship between changes in stress, loneliness and relationships and mental health outcomes […]” due to the economic impact and social isolation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Utilising traditional sign writing materials and techniques to create a series of mirrors, the works become tools for the viewer to assume an anthropological perspective. Encountering fragmented images of themselves and their companions, the artworks operate as windows into an alternate reality where presence can be shared, but physicality is disrupted. As a metaphor for the psychological impacts of Covid-19, the works highlight the importance of connection, community, and established support networks for positive mental health, and are supported by an onsite mural that explores themes of separation and confinement.