Artist Sally Anderson moved her young family to a 10-acre property in Newrybar, NSW at the tail end of 2019, while their permanent Sydney home underwent renovations. What sounds like foresight was actually just luck, as the artist, her partner and 3-year-old son Augie moved to the Northern Rivers just before one of the most seismic years in living memory.
Now, they are waiting out the storm in an old farmhouse close to the sea, where Sally paints in a temporary studio she has set up in a spare bedroom.
The relocation has represented a shift in Sally’s practice, one that can be tracked through the body of work which make up her new exhibition, Bridal Veil Falls, the Window and the Piano Lesson. The pieces in this exhibition are deliberately lighter, less dense and more direct than earlier works, and reference the work of Matisse, Bonnard and Richard Diebenkorn. Though Sally already had fascination with domesticity as an artistic lens, this focus now has new parallels in the midst of stay-at-home orders around the world.
‘Since my son was born I have been making works referencing domesticity, motherhood and ways we experience landscape from the comfort of our homes,’ Sally explains. ‘Which is why you’ll find windows and screens within my work, and the viewer will be inside looking out.’ This allegory of motherhood – at its most optimistic a radical reframing of personhood, at its most morbid a trap – slots perfectly into the strange tableau the rest of the world have found themselves suspended in since March.
The natural world offers many allegories for human life: marriage, regeneration, motherhood and birth. The artist reimagines our experience of the domestic space as a new Australian landscape, one peppered with windowsills, cut flowers, blank screens and skyline outlooks. ‘Since lockdown, these works have taken on a new meaning,’ Sally concedes. ‘They now also reference our collective experience of lockdown.’
‘Bridal Veil Falls, the Window and the Piano Lesson’ is showing at Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane from August 6th – 26th. You can find out more details here.