Anna Davern ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South’ @ e.g.etal

12 09 2015

What a delight! A completely enjoyable and engaging delight.

Anna Davern has outdone her amazing self in her latest exhibition, ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South‘ at e.g.etal.

I’m sure regular readers have probably already visited, or witnessed the development of the work and the exhibition on various social media platforms …

photograph with gallery permission

photograph with gallery permission

I was just a little bummed that I couldn’t work the mechanisms myself (the gallery staff do that), but I can totally understand why that’s the case.

It’s entirely possible I squealed with delight … just a little bit. I remember someone writing somewhere (perhaps on Instagram?) that it was fantastic that ‘kittens are our evil overlords’ (that’s what my mind has put together anyway)… Elizabethan overlords at that! The ‘covert operators’, pretending to be evil kittens, were the funniest.

Almost all pieces were objects, with some sporting detachable jewellery pieces such as earrings and brooches.

What a feat. What an imagination.

Anna Davern ‘The Golden Land of the Sunny South‘ is part of Radiant Pavilion has been extended at e.g.etal until 19th September 2015.

See also:

Anna Davern ‘Impressa’ @ e.g.etal

19 05 2015

Quick sticks! Get along to e.g.etal before the end of this weekend to see Anna Davern‘s ‘Impressa‘.

Anna is an unashamed lover of all things kitsch, especially Australiana – and what’s not to love about that.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Using printed steel Anna has created brooches from images of Ned Kelly, Queen Elizabeth II (who she insists on naming Liz, much to my delight) and Queen Elizabeth I. All images have been cut into strips or squares, and those elements are then rearranged.

…Sometimes the strips are attached separated, sometimes the altered image is printed as a single image on the metal.

…Sometimes the photographic/steel layer is fastened to the blackened brooch back by delicate folded prongs, sometimes by rivets (I love rivets; I may have mentioned that before).

…Sometimes the rivets are blackened, sometimes they’re gold *swoon*.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

exhibition media; click on image for original source

The oval and round brooches mimic miniature paintings … which were once a personal and highly precious keepsake portrait of a loved one. Does that mean we are to love these people? Even though they’re so distorted?

…Or is this commenting on the fact that if we think we love and adore someone so far from our real life, then we simply must be worshiping an inevitably distorted image of them?

…Then again, perhaps Anna is just experimenting, enjoying the process and having fun.

…They look like the pictures on those funny little screen toys we used to have as kids (in the, ahem, 70s) on which the picture looks different from one angle than the other (I cannot remember what they were called); and the same optical device was recently used for a Tram advert about inspectors (Melbourne reference; one must be pleased with that).

I wondered about why these particular three people were chosen. Ned and Elizabeth II I can understand from the perspective of the sculpting of the Australian identity; Elizabeth I is not quite the same.. so I’m curious …perhaps because of her direct connection to Liz? Perhaps I’m being daft and missing an obvious connection … you will tell me won’t you, if I am?

Make sure you visit the e.g.etal page for the exhibition for more detailed photographs of some of the pieces. Especially ‘Liz Slice 3‘; look at the back of it, look at the back of it!

Exhibition media (too good not to reproduce here whole):
Davern’s work features pictures of people from Australian political and social life as a means to dissect clichéd images of Australian identity.Using images found on old biscuit tins or historical photos printed on to metal, Davern slices, rearranges and reconstructs these pictures to create works that trick the eye with their disconcerting familiarity.

By reworking these cult-like symbols their power over us becomes fluid and slippery. As objects of adornment seen through the lens of the Impressa, they offer a reflection on our cultural roots, which lie in the colonisation of Australia by the British.

Unafraid to move freely between lo-fi kitsch and the precious object, Anna continues to develop a visual language with the power to question our loyalties to conservatism. Her humorous renditions of cultural identification allay our fears of deeper, more critical discussions about political and social life, and to this end the brooches laugh at romantic notions of allegiance and turn them upside down.

Anna Davern ‘Impressa‘ is at e.g.etal until 23rd May 2015.

ps. I had a look for the exhibition title in the dictionary and found a very similar word ‘impresa’ which means a device, or motto or emblem … what a great connection.

Update (less than an hour after initial publication) with a psquillion thanks to Anna, I have attached the accompanying essay written by Ramona Barry of HandMadeLife fame … Impressa_RamonaBarry_Essay. I will give this my undivided attention forthwith

See also:

Happy birthday Ma!

12 04 2013

It’s my super-most-fabulously-awesome Mum’s birthday today.


For her 50th birthday I designed and commissioned a five-diamond pendant (I was living in London at the time, and cannot remember the name of the jeweller). So for this significant birthday I wanted to make a companion pendant.

I commissioned the wonderful Anna Davern to translate my design into reality.

I have been asked why I didn’t make this myself – the reasons are complicated, but include the fact that I wanted a more experienced jeweller to make this; plus I don’t yet make in gold and it seemed cost prohibitive to me to collect all the necessary materials (eg. solder, and to buy wire and chenier it’s usual to have to purchase a minimum length) for this piece.

Mum's pendant

Mum’s pendant

Happy birthday – love you Ma!

‘The Lost Voyage of Captain Foley and the HMS Laburnum’ @ Craft

26 10 2012

You must immediately stop what you’re doing and race down to Craft (formerly Craft Victoria). It is imperative. [Unless of course it’s not within their opening hours, or you have children to tend, and so forth … you know, be sensible and stuff!]

Anyhoo, it is a veritable bonanza of awesomeness at Craft.
There are three magnificent exhibitions you simply must see.

In gallery three is ‘The Lost Voyage of Captain Foley and the HMS Laburnum‘ by Lucy James and Anna Davern.

photograph taken with gallery permission

Have you ever walked into a gallery space and just smiled with delight? My friend and I did just that with this exhibition. It is an absolute joy.

photograph taken with gallery permission

Exhibition media: “The Lost Voyage of Captain Foley and the HMS Laburnum taps into the mysteries of ‘under the sea’ and ‘into the woods’ and explores and exploits the unknown, the uncanny and the unbelievable.

Artists Anna Davern and Lucy James will combine their shared obsessions of collage, composition and storytelling to present a tongue-in-cheek perspective of colonialism and the 18th Century fascination for the bizarre creatures that were brought back from the strange new continent of Australia.

Referencing the sea and the voyages taken by these creatures, Davern and James propose an alternative result of these expeditions: a ship loaded with live specimens is overwhelmed by a large mythological wave which changes things: koalas find homes in over-sized seashells; sea bass snuggle in wallaby pouches; hybridised creatures gain super powers from their new environments, and animals gain the use of opposable thumbs.

photograph taken with gallery permission

There is so much to enjoy here. I especially loved the piece called ‘I forgot my lunch‘ (I think that was its name). It’s possible I may have skipped just a little bit with joy.

Others who have loved this exhibition include VettiLiveinNorthcote, Lucy James has some beautiful images on her blog, as has Anna Davern on Northcity4’s blog.

The Lost Voyage of Captain Foley and the HMS Laburnum‘ is at Craft until 1st December 2012.