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
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
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