Two Piece is a dream of the summer envisioned while Yvette Coppersmith was basking in the weak rays of Melbourne’s winter. Reclining in her garden with a book on Sonya Delaunay and a foreboding sense of the cold days ahead - the line ‘Woman Clothed by the Sun’ resonated – not for it’s religious references but for it’s very literalness. A sun-drenched oasis was created within the walls of Coppersmith’s studio. The artist invited her fellow model for a bikini shoot in potted ficus-fringed paradise, replete with heater and bright lamps. The participatory aspect of artist and model taking turns to set the self-timer - creating improvised poses - was one of play and shared creation, blurring the roles of artist and muse.
In recent years Coppersmith has introduced processes of participation and exchange with other artists, ex lovers, couples and friends into her painting practice that expand vernaculars associated with the still life genre. Asking others to contribute to the scheme or at times arrange the still lifes for her, Coppersmith takes an approach akin to her portraiture where her subjects transpose certain sentiments and emotions into her work. This approach to still life is evocative of other Australian figures including Dorrit Black, Grace Cossington Smith and Margret Preston, whose work also delved in to the personal and domestic settings of Australians.
Two Piece is an ode to the bright, balminess of Brisbane and simulates the Australian summer at a time when it’s longed for most. The series examines the importance of female relationships in the artist’s life. Switching her gaze to the woman as muse, Coppersmith embraces luminous pinks and floral motifs. The softness of pink is set against graphic blacks, a nod to her Modernist influences. The figures have a sculptural quality, yet simultaneously, a very real presence. These women appear to inhabit a constructed beach idyll in lieu of a dreamt lifestyle - the artist’s as well as the collective.
James Bowen, Megan Alexandra Ayres & Yvette Coppersmith