Artistic expression as therapy in Xanthe’s Taupō exhibition

Xanthe Wyse with some of the 30 works she created for her Speak exhibition at the Red Rock Gallery in Taupō. The exhibition opens on Saturday. Photo / Laurilee McMichael

When it comes to how she feels, Xanthe Wyse lets her works do the talking.

The Taupō woman uses creative expression to process and transform trauma and express what she cannot find words for.

It is therefore fitting that Xanthe’s next exhibition at Taupō’s Red Rock Gallery is called Speak and presented as an Art as Therapy exhibition.

It follows Spinning Orbit, Xanthe’s first exhibition two years ago, where his collection of colorful artwork documented his struggles with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She was surprised and grateful that 13 of the paintings in this exhibit sold and that people didn’t just like the artwork and the concept that the artwork was quite messy because it was about dealing with emotions. They also adopted his concept of selling them for no price.

Xanthe says that when she goes into a state of hyper-arousal from her bipolar state and PTSD, the painting helps calm her down and direct her energy into something creative while also helping her to. treat his trauma.

She puts some music on a loop and says that she goes into a kind of trance, just painting by intuition.

“With my style, I go beyond actual therapy, usually on music that speaks for me and on movement because it’s the opposite of being frozen and closed … that’s why there is a lot of movement in my paintings. of dance painting. It’s very, very energizing but relaxing. I feel this incredible release that I can’t get any other way. “

Xanthe also paints when she is depressed, but says it happens less often, although she finds it helps elevate her emotions.

“Even if I just paint somewhere, I will feel an emotional shift and even cry, and then it will rise, so I don’t have long periods of depression anymore.”

Xanthe uses colors as symbolism and says that the activity of painting and symbols helps her say what she needs when she cannot find the words.

“To speak is to be unable to speak and express the trauma. I don’t speak out loud when I paint, I am silent.

“The paintings tell stories. All paintings are related to me, they are very complex on many levels. The paintings deal with my own trauma and transform it. Transformation is a key part and that’s why I use color. I paint in metaphor so that I have distance.It’s like changing and turning horrible things into something interesting.

For Speak, Xanthe has prepared around thirty works of art, mainly acrylic paintings on canvas, but also three-dimensional pieces. She describes her art as “raw and messy”.

“It’s about speaking without words and it’s an improvised expression. I’m not trying to paint a pretty picture and make it perfect, I express something from within and that’s what makes it different and interesting to people. “

Speak – Art as Therapy takes place daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Rock Gallery, 63 Raywood Cres, Ashwood Park (excluding Crown Rd), Taupō, from Saturday September 19 to Tuesday September 22. All parts are for sale, most for less than $ 100. Xanthe is grateful for the support of the Taupō District Creative Communities Scheme.

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