Artist inspired by heart surgery

June 9, 2024 BY

Murray Chenery's experience of by-pass surgery influenced his current exhibition. Photos: SUPPLIED

A Geelong artist has launched a solo exhibition at the Hue and Cry Gallery, depicting his feelings through heart surgery.

Newtown resident Murray Chenery underwent bypass heart surgery last year and put together The Heart in Me exhibition, which officially opened on Saturday.

The 22 paintings reflect his feelings before, during and after the surgery, using shape, colour, texture, composition and contrast to reveal them.

Along with many others, feelings of vulnerability, dependency, curiosity and anxiety are portrayed in the artworks.

Chenery said putting the exhibition together had been a satisfying experience, which began in the early stages after he came out of hospital.

“I thought to myself, ‘I need to make something positive out of this’.

“Even though my concentration was very shallow, I started to document my feelings and emotions, particularly before and during the heart surgery, then I extended it beyond.

Murray Chenery with Stretch Kontelj, who was the MC for the exhibition launch. Photo: SUPPLIED


“I thought if I didn’t do it at the time, I would miss some valuable content or valuable feelings.”

The exhibition started with the artist wanting to detail his experiences in a creative and visual way, which then turned into a project and an exhibition with the hope people will learn from it.

“The key insight through this whole process is that you get a lot of information on the physical heart and the surgery, but you get no information around the mental challenges that you might experience,” Chenery said.

“The big takeout for me is that the mental challenges are as big as the physical challenges, and I come up against that with people who reach out to me.”

Chenery said if the artwork helped just one person in their heart surgery journey, it would have been worth it.

He also has a painting measuring 2.7 by 1.8 metres to be sold in a silent auction, where all proceeds will be donated to the Barwon Health Foundation.

The artist is also Heart Support Australia’s peer group leader for Geelong, speaking to heart patients at Barwon Health’s Sunrise Rehabilitation Centre.

The Heart in Me will run until June 22.

For more information, head to hueandcry.com.au