Title : Westworld
Medium: Upcycled ceramic with onglaze
Price : AUD 1000
About the artwork:
My work is based on an American advertisement that shows idyllic train travel in 1953. As an Australian you don’t get to travel in snow like this, it looks heavenly. The service is travelling between Worcester and New Haven, a scenic trip that would have caught the imagination of a lot of Americans. When we start our holidays we start with a perfect scenario in our minds, do idyllic holidays really exist, are we able to control our holiday experiences?
In 1973 an American science fiction western film was made questioning this notion. Its’ plot revolved around adult guests visiting an interactive amusement park. Westworld was a movie about the ‘ideal’ holiday where you get to live in the wild west, drink beer with saloon girls, go to their rooms and shoot people without consequence. What allows this to happen is that all the functions in the town are performed by lifelike androids. The androids are operated by humans who run the show until it gets out of control, and they start shooting back with real bullets.
This is my take on that idea, my holiday train trip is met with outlaw women wanting some fun of their own. The plate is a pastiche of 50’s society wanting a safe controlled version of the 1700’s wild west. It’s a tongue in cheek souvenir plate of a holiday that goes wrong.
I am a multi-disciplinary artist who has worked across the mediums of printmaking, mixed media and drawing plus in more recent years incorporated ceramics and installation.
My plate series are paintings on upcycled plates and platters that have been retrieved from second hand and vintage shops. They all come with their own histories, unknown to me.
My focus is on two areas, the research for my recent master’s degree in 2019 was identity, family history and loss, exploring the potential of objects to act as repositories for both known and unknown pasts. I referenced old family photos for my images.
Currently, I am interested in the proliferation of guns in children’s hands in America, fascinated by parents who proudly publish their kids’ photos on the internet. As an Australian, an outsider to this culture, I try and understand by painting these ‘precious’ children on delicate plates as a form of souvenir of a strange American obsession. I am exploring the fetishization of these objects in recreating souvenirs dedicated to the intimate and somewhat, confusing to me, relationship American culture has with them.