LIVES AND WORKS
LIVES AND WORKS
DATE OF BIRTH
I am an Australian artist living and working in Paris, France. I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts with the National Art School, Sydney in 2010. At the graduation show I was awarded a residency with Queen Street Studios for 2011, where I worked for 5 months and finished with a solo show in their exhibition space. I moved to France in 2012 and have since had several solo and group exhibitions in both France and Australia.
Painting is the majority of my practice, however I also work with drawing, installation and video.
My work is an exploration into how we define the 'self' in relation to the concept of home. What is self? What is home? And how do they interact?
A definition of self is complicated. The self could be defined by stating what it is not; I am not another person; I am not the chair I am sitting on but this does not define what it is. The self could be defined by stating what it is in this moment; I love green; I remember that holiday; but all of this can change, our tastes change and memories can skew or fade. The self is an individual with their own subjective consciousness. However neither ones consciousness, nor ones self, remains static. The childhood self is not the same as the adult self. The awake self is not the same as the asleep self. The self is constantly changing.
Home is a little easier to define, though still has more than one definition. The immediate definition is that it is the place in which one lives, or where one is cared for. However home can also be defined as the place where one was born, or it could be defined as a group of people or a certain place where one feels they belong. It could be all of these definitions, or it might be that someone feels homeless despite having a place to live.
Looking into how we define ourselves throughout our constant changing states, with a reference point of place or home, brings into question how these concepts come together and influence each other. As both home and self can be complicated to define the notion of ancestry, environment, belonging, and the interaction between ones self and the space that surrounds it are concepts that are also explored.
As I delve into these concepts, informed by the writing of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau Ponty on phenomenology and ontology, I find there is a fluidity between the self and home, between ones ancestry and the environment, and it becomes difficult to separate the self as a single entity. I am what I take in. I am a part of what surrounds me, and it is me. We share the air we breath and the water we drink. We swap ideas. We take our food from the same earth. Like ripples or waves in water, one formless giant moving thing. We are ephemeral and eternal. “Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been parts of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you.” (Bill Bryson, A short history of nearly everything). When I look for a defined self, I find that we have form but that it is not static. A definition may be accurate at a particular point in time, but not the next. All of which leaves me asking where lies the boundary between what is self and what is other?
I have been researching this subject with a focus on how the self can be defined in terms of ancestral culture and birth place and what that might mean for white Australians. The concept of home becomes even more complicated when looked at through the lens of postcolonial theory. I know that I am not alone when I say that, living on land that was stolen from the nations first people (not to mention the treatment they have suffered) does not felt right; even if it is my birth place and where I grew up. It calls into question for me the horrendous acts of colonialism. A system that profited only the white colonialists, a system that the white population is still profiting from today. I am a white woman who was born and grew up in Australia (on Ngunnawal, Yuin and Gadigal country). My mothers family immigrated to Australia from England in the early 60's, when she was 6 years old, and my father's family have been in Australia for 5 generations. How do we define our selves with cultural identity and our home land, what is our home land?
I now live in France and have so for 9 years. I left Australia feeling it was not right for me and have taken residence in the native country of my partner, where we have built a family and laid down roots. While I have a great love for France and cherish the roots that I have laid here, I still do not have a strong sense of belonging. The gap that was created in the diaspora of my ancestors has left in me what the Welsh call Heirth, “a homesickness or nostalgia, an earnest longing or desire, or a sense of regret. The feeling of longing for a home that never was.” (wikipedia) These inquiries into cultural heritage and 'home' land have become particularly important to me during the past year, firstly, because of the fires that spread across much of Australia at the beginning of 2020 burning so much of the land where I was born and grew up; then also (if not more so), because of the travel restrictions due to covid 19, causing me to be cut off from my birth place and family for several years.
All of these questions and concepts lead me to the ocean.
I paint the international waters that my family crossed to reach Australia, I paint the beaches I grew up on that feel like home, I paint the seas of my ancestors who were sailors in Wales, Ireland and England. I paint the abstract memories and stories that connect these places and I paint my self as the sea that flows between all this.
I paint the waves from memory to connect to my memory of the place. Capturing a wave, a movement that is formed from formlessness.
My abstract works are more an act of placing myself in the present moment. I feel like I am obliterated and remade again in each moment. These hand sized works are a pure reaction to now. They are watery and out of focus, the way our world appears through mist.
These ocean and abstract paintings play with the idea of a formless and flowing self. A self and home which intertwine and give meaning to one another. A non-solid somethingness.
WHO I AM
Australian artist living in Paris with a fine arts degree from the national art school, Sydney.
CONTACT THE ARTIST