Over the last 18 months, most of us have been living through our phone screens with a greater sense of purpose. While we can’t leave the country (or, in some cases, even our own homes), we can drop into hundreds of different lives, places and moments in a scroll or a swipe. It’s this duality of personal and ‘second-hand’ experience that artist Sally Anderson draws on in her latest show, Sea Screen Belly, showing this month at Olsen Gallery in Sydney.
Collecting screenshots of landscapes and still life from friend’s stories on social media, she collages and layers objects and places to construct new realities. A specific photograph taken by a friend, Heather, in her home at South Bondi has informed the majority of works in the show. ‘I experienced this view of Heather’s through the screen of my phone, in the comfort of my own home whilst with my son, but which experience is more authentic? My experience of Heather’s view of South Bondi through a screen, or my simultaneous experience of being at home with my son? Both? Neither?’ Sally leaves the question hanging.
Sally deliberately ‘juggles’ her references and perspectives within these works. She draws parallels between living ‘real life’ (simultaneously her own and others’) on social media, and the many different roles women are expected to embody. ‘We can be on a holiday somewhere and peer into a screen and be on someone else’s holiday at the same time. This process reminds me of the pressure society puts on women and mothers (like myself) to “multi-task” and “juggle”’, she says.
The works in Sea, Screen, Belly were created with a greater sense of freedom than Sally has been afforded in recent times. Her three-year-old Augie has started daycare, and she’s also moved into a communal studio in Alexandria with other artists, where the works in this show were brought to life. This separation of home and practice has given her breathing space to approach her work in new ways. ‘It is the first body of work I have made separate from my home since becoming a mother, and I feel this freedom is inherent in the work’, Sally reflects.
Ironically, Sea, Screen, Belly will be viewable online via Olsen Gallery and via appointment due to the current lockdown restrictions in Sydney.
Sea, Screen, Belly by Sally Anderson
July 14th – 31st 2021
Viewable online and by appointment