My work investigates gender clichés by turning them into something positive and empowering. These paintings are directly inspired by my collection of vintage wallpaper: I revive charming old papers and give them a new voice.
We traditionally think of the wallflower as an awkward girl desperate to be chosen. This series of work originated with a question: is a Wallflower one who shrinks into the background to become invisible, or is she emerging from the wall, opening, blossoming, divulging her secrets?
Debutantes, wallflowers, clinging vines, china dolls… these are all outmoded ideas of women. But if you revisit a place with new ideas it transforms into something unfamiliar, something new.
The idea of reappropriation isn’t new but the process of repurposing a stereotype and turning negative ideas into positive parts of our own identity is powerful. The act of claiming an identity can be transformational. Perhaps this is why the Wallflower series has been so well received: it reflects what we see in ourselves.
For this exhibition I am also toying with the idea of “place”. It’s a crucial dimension of human meaning and relationships. Place is simultaneously very personal and collective.
I have taken visual cues from a Sydney summer: women are closely cropped and standing in shallow water, adorned with flowers and birds. Old wooden ferries point to nostalgia and longing: we all carry with us footprints of vanished places, places from our past.
Ultimately my work is about positivity and joy. The paintings are multilayered, brimming with detail and delight. Women are strong, solo, self-possessed and inextricably linked to nature. They are proof that pretty can be powerful.
Sydney Road Gallery
563 Sydney Road Seaforth NSW 2093
November 22 - December 16
Opening Night: Saturday November 24 5pm-7pm
Guest Speaker: Ashley McDonald | Contemporary Art Specialist
Photos courtesy of Kapaya Creative Studio