Through the work of artists who live and work in the Mid-West and Central West of NSW, Here and Not Here explores the way the history of the region is under a constant state of erasure, from the changing environment, to the slow decay of historic sites and towns, to the slow forgetting of cultures, languages and place.
The exhibition draws on the artist’s responses to aspects of regional history and culture. In Sean O’Keefe’s work, which use the techniques of glass matte paintings, a phantom presence of place is traced out in a sequence of painterly images, while Karen Golland’s photo collage project investigates the way her grandmother’s fading memory is traced through an obsessive selection of photographs from a local newspapers, to Kim Goldsmith’s Kandos audio tour, which uses sound to explore the invisible connections of now abandoned places.
The show also features works by artists who make historical connections between local artists and crafts peoples of the past and present. Bill Moseley’s silver nitrate glass photographs employ the methods of photography that were used to capture life on the region’s goldfields in the late 19thcentury, here applied to portraits of studio visitors, while the pattern making of sewing and doilies serve as the basis of Fleur MacDonald’s object paintings.
Amanda Penrose Hart’s paintings are a personal response to the region’s landscapes, a recording of the changing face of land and environment. Amala Groom’s video performance enunciates Indigenous lineage – and hence connection to place – in what she describes as a “…performed remembering of BE-ing, of the past, present and future…”, while Julie William’s performance video poetically restores depleted native forest through a near magical act of ghostly netting.
Together, the works offer a powerful and focused reflection of the way artists draw on the specific experience of living in the regions for their work, and how its contemporary culture is in part an effort to remember rather than forget.
Room sheet text for Here and Not Here, a part of Cementa19, November 21-24, 2019. Curated by Andrew Frost