artists & participants

press release

A child sits on the edge of a swimming pool, splashing her feet in the water. A group of cousins relax in a dining room. A young man sits on a chair in front of a desk in an insurance office. Other figures are poised in their everyday environment, yet none are identifiable for their heads are swathed in exotic fruit; they have become ciphers only readable through the details of their surroundings and the imaginings of those viewing these photographs. The portraits of A small town at the turn of the century, taken in the artist's hometown in Malaysia, depict a complex entangling of nature and culture, history, location and memory.

A series of cartoons appear in newspapers from Katmandu and Helsinki, telling a story of a group of artists trekking in the Himalayas. The artists stumble through the mountains, uncertain as to why they are there and what to make of their surroundings. It soon becomes apparent that the two main protagonists are Simryn Gill and her friend and collaborator, Liisa Roberts, an artist based in New York, and that this comic strip, Hit and Miss, is the outcome of their shared experience in Nepal in preparation for an exhibition in Finland.

Myriad small, crushed items of roadside litter, mounted on wheels, cluster as if a school of fish, ready to speed across the floor, out the door and back onto the road. Mobilized, on new round prosthetics, the detritus of Roadkill seems ready to re-enter the fray, to go back out into the site of carnage, and invade the roads dominated by their giant oppressors.

Carved into the surface of old books mounted on a wall are small caves or shrines which contain various discarded objects, while mounted on either side are texts which define the two words of the work's title. Pooja/Loot is an interplay between geography, the everyday and the languages of colonial India.

The four works in this exhibition, ranging over the last decade, differ radically in form and materials, but there is both subtle humour and very careful negotiation reflected in these projects. Tracing paths between Sydney where she now lives and a series of wider, global connections Gill produces art which is reserved, poetic, deliberate and perhaps ambivalent about its own existence-yet wonderfully and deeply engaging.

This exhibition has been made possible with the financial assistance of the Perth International Arts Festival.

John Barrett-Lennard Pressetext

Simryn Gill - A small town at the turn of the century
Kurator: John Barrett-Lennard