Over the past five years Grigg’s art practice has had a dramatic shift. This has been a result of his slow recovery from a neurological condition called Focal Dystonia which affects the fine motor skills of his hands and arms effectively triggering the agonist and antagonist muscles simultaneously. He was initially no longer able to draw or hand cut and assemble sculptures by laminating cardboard so he began experiments with mold-making, casting, and building assemblages from a range of materials including wood, plaster, concrete, glass, leather, resin, and cotton.
The sculptures in Agonist/Antagonist relate to my body – either in scale or the experience of it and its unsynchronised agonist and antagonist muscles. Importantly the works in this show are all about touching and the hand, about the experience of recognizing the action of my hands and the dysfunction of my body.
Richard Grigg 2016
Agonist/Antagonist contains various symbols and images that are employed to reflect Grigg’s bodily experience, including, the leopard, a creature known to embody strength, endurance and distance. His leopard presented as a sliver-thin sculpture resting atop a plank of wood with an array of found stones and shells, it appears like it is in shadow between states, passing through. Grigg also references Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld, who symbolises the piecing together of broken parts and the recreation of a new and altered functioning body.
Less culturally charged but equally symbolic of Grigg’s physical condition, is the inclusion of objects such as the boot or the spider shell. Both explore the transition from interior to exterior – the path of the boots laces, and the once inhabited shell. The transition from one state to another is a common thread throughout this exhibition.
Richard Grigg is a sculptor and drawer based in Clunes, Victoria. He has exhibited extensively in Melbourne’s artist run initiatives and held solo shows at major institutions including Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2010; Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra, 2007 and Heide MoMA, Melbourne, 2006. Grigg has a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from VCA. In 2007 he undertook the Mino Paper Art Village Project Residency, Mino, Gifu prefecture, Japan.