We all have an inner landscape, a private space inhabited by our thoughts and dreams, memories and emotions. It is a space that is inextricably familiar to us and yet elusive as well. Sometimes we can access this space at will and sometimes little triggers take us there when we least expect it. I am interested in the triggers - an old teddy bear, a song, a scent – the artefacts of our experiences.
My work therefore is concerned with the way these triggers provoke memories and then couple in our subconscious to form new associations. Across my practice, including my sculptures, they present as enduring manifestations of these couplings. Like the unconstrained and often playful expression of ideas and thoughts through free association, the artworks, represent fragments of memory juxtaposed with representational and non-representational that are suggestive rather than prescribed.
Bud (2015) is an assemblage work that is intended to simulate the collage methodology I employ in other areas of my multi-disciplinary practice. Each individual plywood piece informs the resolution of the drawing that sits upon it. These drawing pieces can then be experimented with in a multitude of ways to form new compositions. The final work is derived at through the juxtaposition of these disparate elements that in turn trigger associations to other forms, in this instance, a bud.
Michelle Cawthorn is a Sydney-based artist whose practice encompasses drawing, collage, sculpture and time-based forms. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours (Class 1), a Bachelor of Art Education and a Master of Fine Arts from UNSW Art & Design.
Her recent solo exhibitions include Memorophilia, Kudos Gallery, Sydney (2013), Sleeper, Sheffer Gallery, Sydney (2014) and Little Triggers, AD Space, Sydney (2015). Group exhibitions include Drawing Now 2015, AD Space, Sydney (2015) and Private Lives: The Artist as Collector, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney (2015).
Cawthorn has been a finalist in a number of awards including the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (2008), Willoughby Sculpture Prize (2013), The Tim Olsen Drawing Prize (2014) for which she received a Highly Commended, and the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award (2013 and 2015), for which she received the Local Artist Award in 2013. In 2012, Cawthorn was awarded an Australian Post Graduate Award to undertake research in Sculpture, Performance and Installation. Her work is held in public and private collections nationally.
pen and acrylic wash on five pieces of 12mm BB grade Hoop pine plywood, brackets, screws
58 x 63 x 25 cm
Michelle Cawthorn, in conversation with Professor Ian Howard, discusses her work Bud and answers questions from the audience. Recorded on 10 October 2015 at the exhibition.
Download MP3 (10.6 MB)
Judges of the 2015 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize: Dr Michael Brand (Director of the Art Gallery of NSW), Penelope Seidler AM (Arts Patron and Director of Harry Seidler & Associates) and Barbara Flynn (International Curatorial Advisor).