JUST*ICE? SMH LIFE AND DEATH SHOW Greg Leong ROGET'S CIRCULAR Sean PayneCarmel Bird Sharon Pittaway Deborah Malor Simon Longstaff Helen Rayment BEWARE OF PEDESTRIANS Roger Palmer Carmel Bird Michael Buckley
CHILD - Sharon Pittaway
It's hard to know where to begin in commenting on my reaction to this work. I've seen some of it develop over time, while other pieces just seem to pop into being. The one thing that gets me each time I view it (either as a whole body of work or as single pieces) is the thoughtfulness with which it's been created. The use of language captures my attention completely and enables me to get lost in the work. It draws me in and encourages me to make my own meanings, to linger on the images just that bit longer so that I see something more in them each time. And the resonances that ring within me when I allow my gaze to wander over the images and the text is often quite startling.
One of the surprising things about this work for me, as someone who knows nothing formal about the world of art or the creation of works such as this, is that I don't see this collection objectively, as someone else's work. I find my own place in it. I see my own experiences reflected back to me. It resonates with meaning for me.
I read the text, and images from my own life come unbidden into my mind. They awaken other images, and pieces of myself connect again. They stir fragments of my memory so that stories become whole, stories my grandmothers tell of their lives and experiences. Flashes of understanding sizzle within me - the life my grandmother lived with a man who was dark; the pain of having to live on the edge for so many years; the relief of acceptance. And that other edge to which my mother's mother travelled. The edge of the world. A journey from a known country to one brimming with the unknown. Again, the pain of difference and, finally, the sharp relief of acceptance.
I look deeper into the work, and am captivated by the language. I wander through it at leisure, and see the connections across and through the work. Roget's classification of words into categories hasn't contained this work - it's allowed it to move, to connect, to expand. And with that movement and expansion I, as viewer, am able to creep deeper into the world that Lisa and Melissa have created and find my own place within it. They give me a way to make sense of, to put into words, my world. More importantly, they show me a way of connecting with other people's worlds. When engaging with this work I'm sharing in a universal experience of life.
One of the other satisfying elements of this work is the diversity of material, of textures, colours, images, words, and meanings. There are dolls and parts of dolls. Angels and leaves; the cypress and the turtle; mountains and coins, they all share a common space. And above all else people's stories are heard, seen, experienced, lived. As I wander through the work my story becomes part of theirs.
Sharon Pittaway, Launceston 2000
In 2000 Dr. Sharon Pittaway was devising, directing and performing theatre, teaching drama, and embarking on her PhD in Education at the University of Tasmania.