May Space Gallery has invited PhD candidate Anne-Marie Jean and SOA&D staff member Waratah Lahy to curate an exhibition which opens this week. Their show is called Backyards and features works by Ruth Waller (Head of Painting), Dr Erica Seccombe (Foundation lecturer), alumni Jennifer Taylor, Leo Robba and Lia Tacjnar, and also works by Anne-Marie and Waratah.
Backyards is open from 19 September to 7 October.
The idea of a big backyard has long been considered an essential element of Australian iconic culture, synonymous with the fading aspirational ideal of a quarter acre block and a modest home. Our backyards are important spaces: mostly private, they can be practical, useful and fanciful, providing a space for imagination, creativity, toys, pets, projects and failed ambitions.
Despite most of us not having our very own big backyard, the spaces around us and closest to us continue to inspire. A backyard evokes an outdoor environment we engage with in our everyday lives, which we feel an intimate connection to, perhaps responsibility for - a place that shapes us and at times a place we shape.
As times change, notions of what we regard as our own backyard also changes and broadens. The artists in this exhibition have observed and explored significant environments in their lives. The places from which they draw inspiration include gardens, both public and private, suburban streets, local neighborhoods and bigger and wilder spaces left mostly untrammeled by development. From representative to abstract painting, ceramics to 4K HD animation, the patterns of observing and intimately engaging with these spaces emerge through the colours, textures and images created to articulate experience and place.
Image: Erica Seccombe, ReConstructed Landscape 2012 - 2017. Single projection movie - 27:30 mins