Cabinet of Curiosities
25th November – 10th December, Murano & Gullotti Gallery, Perth.
As early as the Renaissance the term ‘cabinet of curiosities’ has been synonymous with power and discovery. Intriguing collections of natural history, art and the bizarre amassed by the wealthy offered glimpses into the secrets of the world and shone a tantalising light into the unknown regions of the human mind.
In this exhibition I have formed a symbolic cabinet of curiosities by amassing a collection of items which allude to moments of wonder in my own life. Connections to Masonry, magic and divination are referenced strongly in this group of forty works revealing how each of these experiences left an indelible mark on my early awareness. These episodes raised questions in my young mind as to how much I really knew about the deeper aspects of life and the world in which I was living.
When I was eleven my grandmothers lock-box, in which she stored her most prized possessions, was opened and I was allowed a rare glimpse into a side of her life which she kept separate. Within a roll of cardboard I discovered an unusual object; her Masonic certificate. For twenty years I kept this piece of paper and puzzled over the attraction it represented to her with its heavy symbolism and air of genteel gravity. Even now I have little idea of what this side of her life entailed but the intricate detail and promise of secrets passed down intrigued me to such an extent that it has manifested in my latest works.
As the title implies collection and display are central themes to this exhibition. Over the years I have gathered to myself objects which to my mind hold a special significance. Apart from those of my own family, the most poignant of these are the rust speckled and discoloured representations of Victorian society – the finest remnants of their age; the photographs they took of themselves. For the longest time the lost stories of these people’s lives have held a great fascination for me. I see these photographs as sacred images worthy of veneration, poignant in both their truths and untruths. Through the reworking of these images and the introduction of stylised Masonic boarders to frame the sitters, I feel as if I am that step closer in grasping the connection for which I have long been searching. My greatest desire is that others will look upon the original Victorian cabinet cards which will sit alongside the paintings they have inspired and a sense of time and transition will move them as it has me.