Joy Hester Frightened
Having as a child lived in Bulleen, across the road from what is now the Heide Museum of Modern Art, I’ve always been interested in both the life and work of Joy Hester, her close association with John and Sunday Reed and her experience as a woman artist amongst a dominantly male milieu.
Possibly made as a reaction to WWII footage Hester viewed of concentration camp victims, Frightened conveys raw emotional experience through the eyes of the subject, which – due to her use of black-and-white and red ink brush strokes – depict pain, terror and distress but also an element of defiance.
I am drawn to this inward, psychological moment rendered by the immediacy of its production. It is realised in a fluid manner, responsive to the subject matter at hand and produced at speed, colliding together private and public spheres of life.
Hester was one of the only artists of her generation who had the strength to choose not to work in oils like her male colleagues, particularly as this also further isolated her artistic activities from the mainstream ‘centre’.