Teo Treloar: And Now, The Plague

These graphite pencil drawings investigate the themes of isolation, existential threat, and the absurd realities of life in a pandemic.

Teo Treloar-mind tenement-detail

Teo Treloar is a visual artist whose work focuses on drawing and illustration, he is interested in how drawing can be used to represent the inner worlds of his psychology. Further, he is interested in how existential aesthetics, usually associated with literature, can materialise visually in his illustration practice. Teo is a lecturer in Visual Art at The University of Wollongong and lives and Works in Dharawal Country in NSW.

"The drawings and Illustrations for And Now, The Plague, the new body of work created for this exhibition, use Albert Camus novel "The Plague" as its starting point. The graphite pencil drawings created for the exhibition investigate the themes of isolation, existential threat, and the absurd realities of life in a pandemic. Further, this body of work focuses on how the act of drawing can act as a primary means of creative expression during times of crisis.

I created the drawings and illustrations with two distinct approaches. The first is related to my collecting of different editions of The Plague from across the world. My original goal was to get one copy from as many individual countries as possible during the pandemic; in my mind, this was a small way to connect to the shared global experience through the physical object of a book that tells a story of pestilence. I intended to initially collect the books only, but it occurred to me that drawing them was an effective and interesting way to create work around the sociocultural themes that have arisen over the last few years. For this exhibition, I am displaying ten book drawings; however, the project is ongoing.

The second approach was to try and illustrate the absurdity of the social and cultural locked-in syndrome that many experienced during this time. Communication, work, and cultural activity was mass transported into a mediated context. We can consider that there is much to be thankful for regarding this, technologies such as zoom enable communication with colleagues and friends, and the internet provides ways to engage with cultural events. However, there is a dark side to this; personally, it heightened my state of awareness of our ever-increasing velocity towards a dystopian future. Furthermore, my sense of isolation and anxiety was exacerbated by my interactions with technology, news media, and the endless flow of information being generated by the pandemic".

This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW and the 2021 - 2022 Visual Arts Commissioning Program

Image credits:
Top: Mind Tenement, graphite pencil on paper, 133 x 111cm (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Homepage square: 2020 Vision 2, 2022, graphite pencil on paper, 20 x 16.5cm (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Slider: 2020 Vision 3, 2022, graphite pencil on paper, 20 x 16.5cm (detail). Courtesy of the artist.

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