05. 12. 2016
‘I am working with this idea of journeying, moving into the unknown, letting go and then the reinventing in that process.’
Audrey Harnett has come to value isolation. She knows that she can take it – she has put herself through that tough test – but she also knows that it’s her choice to be isolated or not.
Audrey spoke of isolation’s value to the artistic process – of the creative flow and materialising of ideas, of the thinking with a certain part of your brain, of walking and percolating, of nutting out processes.
But her work not only comes from isolation, it is about isolation.
‘I’m looking at isolation, colonialisation and the idea of coming somewhere new and leaving everything else behind, particularly from a female perspective,’ Audrey said.
‘And I’m focused a lot on our area at Western River, which is very isolated.
‘I read as much as I could get about early settlers. I read a thesis about babes in the wood. I looked at lots of things. But I still want to read more – on the inland concept; health care and mental health; how, with isolation from services, the harder and harsher it is for people to maintain equilibrium.
‘I am looking widely at these things, digesting it all, then coming in tighter, paring it back to simple to show the revealed and concealed feelings.
Printmaking is Audrey’s oeuvre. All her work is based in printing but she is blowing it off the wall, out to 3D, to mixed media, to many materials and layers. She prints on paper of all thicknesses and textures, from fine translucent tissue with fibres to thick sheets that soak up colour. She prints on fabric – silk, natural and synthetic organza, cotton. She experiments.
‘I have my feet in the concept but the making, the materiality, is my articulation.’
Audrey reveals the internalised gaze by the absence of eyes (thanks Francis Bacon!) and the open chest.
She references the body with vintage dress patterns, faded to brown and cream. ‘I like the visual design; all the arrows and lines. It’s like a directive, it’s telling me where to go.’
And she treats their fragility with PDF glue to make them strong and translucent.
Audrey is not afraid to make mistakes. Her mistakes are in the garden, rotting.
Their treatment fits with her recycling and minimal resource-use ethic. ‘I get a lot from op shops.’ She also uses what’s available right there on her land. ‘I’m talking about this place so it is appropriate to use materials from here, to give a sense of place.’
Audrey, and her art, are finding a new place in the world, on the journey to know the unknown.
Photos by Audrey Harnett