Titles are an entry into my work. They are a lens with which to view or read each piece. For me, titles act as markers like journal entries, they mark the time at which they happened.
Bedspread Island was realised during my time spent in a temporary studio and home in Northern New South Wales and the work was primarily painted while my two year old slept. The paintings hero windowsills, water, banksias, screens, curtains, bedding, landscape and rooms. They use still life as metaphor and places of birth, conception, ancestry and home as subject.
Windowsills are borrowed from Matisse, Diebenkorn and Dodd. Landscape references are drawn from the Northern Rivers region and Isle of Lismore in Scotland. I was born in Lismore New South Wales. Lismore is named after Isle of Lismore in Scotland and you can experience Lismore Island through images on a screen, held in your hand in the comfort of your home. This kind of ‘second-hand’ experience of place, like a retelling or remembering I find quite fascinating.
Screens, windows and curtains are dominant motifs within my practice. You’re always inside looking out and landscapes are plastered on bedspreads. The empty screens in front still life works speak to the landscape windows in other works. They force you to consider the outer edges of the painting. ‘Composition reversed’ Alan Jones said. Furthermore they suggest ways we conceal/reveal parts of ourselves and our stories, particularly on social media platforms but also through history.
The use of still life within my work is always done in metaphor and is usually paired with a seemingly unrelated window of landscapes (though always somehow related). Banksias and Hydrangeas are loaded for me. Hydrangeas lined my bedroom window in the housing commission house I grew up in and my son’s placenta is buried under a Swamp Banksia in my backyard.
The Banksia made its way into my work during my time at the Cite Des Arts in Paris (while undertaking the Brett Whiteley Travelling Arts Scholarship in 2018), after learning of a chateau on the outskirts of Paris, Château de Malmaison, that housed Australian native flora and fauna. The name ‘Banksia’ is collectively loaded for us as Australians. Named (or renamed) after English naturalist Joseph Banks, it reminds us of the invasion of Australia and the mistreating of the indigenous people, their practices and an overwriting of their culture.
Sally Anderson, April 2020