Therapy is an investigation into the material and symbolic visual culture embedded within institutional mental health facilities. The pine wood coffin sculpture bent sitting in a white, plastic outdoor recliner chair engages with the tension in visual language within the mental health arena. Psychiatric hospital interiors are deeply considered and reflect a belief in their own power to affect the mental states of patients though material and spatial qualities. More akin to hotels than hospitals in design, contemporary psychiatric wards inflict tersely contrived domestic environments upon visitors and patients. There is a presentation of the idea of escape, an ostensible holiday away from the stresses of the outside world. Yet the escape invariably comes in the form of physical confinement. The mother of Belgian Surrealist artist Rene Magritte, upon whose work Perspective 1:Madame Recamier de David, 1950, the sculpture references visually, experienced the consequences of this form of treatment. Her subsequent escape from confinement is followed by an escape in suicide. The multiple meanings of “escape” in relation to mental health are at the foreground of the work.
Meg Stoios lives and works in Melbourne. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at the VCA in 2012. Recently she has exhibited as a solo artist in ACCA’s Pop Up space, 2013, and in group shows at Moana ARI, Perth, New Sincerity, 2014 and The Aesthetics of Disengagement, 2013.