This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Two Artists Come Together To Explore The Art Of Storytelling

Art

‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live,’ wrote Joan Didion in 1979. It’s an oft misquoted line, used to validate the human connection to storytelling, rather than to critique the delusions we wittingly commit to.

Narrative is a knotty concept these days, filled with optimism and hope, but also with danger. In the wrong hands, stories can do damage.

This conflict is what drives a new exhibition from Charlotte Swiden and Bec Smith. The two painters have joined forces on ‘Lores’ to explore narrative, myth-making, creativity, and knowledge transfer through their separate abstract art practices, opening tomorrow at No Vacancy Gallery in Melbourne.

14th February, 2022

Charlotte Swiden (left) and Bec Smith (right). Photo – Graham Alderton.

Charlotte with her works. Photo – Graham Alderton.

‘Woken by Song’ by Charlotte Swiden. Photo – Graham Alderton.

Left: ‘We Knew It All Along’ by Bec Smith. Right: ‘The Sky Opened Up And I Sae You For The First Time’ by Bec Smith. Photo – Graham Alderton.

Bec in the gallery. Photo – Graham Alderton.

‘I Thought It Was A Kite But You Were Merely Flag-Waving’ by Bec Smith. Photo – Graham Alderton.

Left: ‘Mother, Sister, Sister, Self I/Acorns’ by Bec Smith. Right: ‘Mother, Sister, Sister, Self II/Double-Take’ by Bec Smith. Photo – Graham Alderton.

‘Huldran’ by Charlotte Swiden. Photo – Graham Alderton.

Photo – Graham Alderton.

‘Tonight You Are Invited By The Fog To Dance’ by Charlotte Swiden. Photo – Graham Alderton.

‘Searching For Amber’ by Charlotte Swiden. Photo – Graham Alderton.

Together, these pieces tackle ancient myths and new ones. Photo – Graham Alderton.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 14th February 2022

In late 2020, Charlotte Swiden and Bec Smith realised they had each been pondering bodies of work circling the same themes. In the midst of a great global stasis, these two artists had both been thinking about storytelling.

Charlotte was interested in mythology and symbology from her Scandinavian heritage, and Bec was researching the crossover between female archetypes in fairytales, with her own experience as an adult woman.

‘We began as a WhatsApp group sharing whatever we heard, read, watched or found,’ explains Bec, pointing to the process of the exhibition itself as an exercise in storytelling between artists.

Though stylistically different, both painters gravitated towards ancient forms of narrative – turning to palette, symbols and figures to represent their responses. Charlotte explores pagan tales of Mother Earth, who is a hero in Scandinavian myth and surrounds herself with nature spirits.

Notions of reverence, respect, ritual and fear circulate this mystical world, while Bec tackled concepts of morality and ethics in fairytales. Through shape and colour Bec confronts the binary dynamics that underpin these parables (unconscious and subconscious, good and bad, male and female etc.) to question the stability of ‘universal’ truths. Through symbol and pattern, deconstruction and reconstruction, Bec asks: Is it time to build new great narratives?

Weaving together similar themes through very different painting styles, the act of collaboration and co-exhibition enlivens and elevates this shared body of work.

‘I’d like to think this makes the works deeper and more meaningful,’ says Charlotte. ‘You know, our tales grew together with us.’

‘Lores’ opens on 15th February until 27th. No Vacancy Gallery is found at 34-40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne.

This Week

Father's Day Favourites

Shop Luxurious Outdoor Essentials For Dad With 20% Off The Grampians Goods Co.

This one is for the dads who love camping, picnics, and a hot cocoa by the fire! We've got 20% off The Grampian Goods Co.!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Kip&Co Team Up With Robert Gordon For A Fun-Filled Ceramic Range

The loveable local brands have created a new playful ceramics collection, bringing prints and colour to range of hand-crafted vases!
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Find The Perfect Book For Dad With 20% Off From Hardie Grant Publishing!

From the best barbecuing recipes to epic travel inspiration, you'll find the perfect book for dad in our edit of Hardie Grant Publishing's f...
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Announcing The Design Files Father's Day Favourites 2022!

Find the best gifts for dad and score special deals with our Father's Day Favourites online shopping event!

Interiors

A Majestic Garden House That Transcends Aesthetics

The landscape is the mesmerising star of the show in Garden House by Arent&Pyke and Polly Harbison Design.

Stays

Escape To An Adorable Country Cottage Overlooking The Grampians

Stoneycroft Cottage features a 1864-built bluestone cottage and converted shearer's quarters, on a picturesque farm in regional Victoria!
Christina Karras
  10 hours ago

News

Shop Dreamy Pastel Landscapes In Collection III From ‘Palette by Jono Fleming’

Introducing interior stylist Jono Fleming’s third art collaboration with Sicilian-Australian artist Chanel Sohier.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Inside Elena Strohfeldt's Beautifully Therapeutic Ceramics Practice

How the self taught artist started making ceramics as a way to work through a painful trauma, channeling it into whimsical vessels.
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Give Dad A Dose Of (Stylish) Wanderlust With Bespoke Luggage From July!

Gift dad bespoke luggage from our favourite travel brand July and receive a complimentary personalised luggage tag worth $85!

Father's Day Favourites

Elevate Your Dad's Wardrobe This Father's Day With An Epic 20% Off Seed Heritage!

Seed Heritage has everything you need to level up your gift-giving efforts and dad’s personal style - and we have a special 20% offer for
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Former Shopfront Turned Architecturally-Designed Home In Coburg Hits The Market

Behind an unassuming facade unfolds a brilliantly designed and sun-filled Coburg home, and it's for sale!
Bea Taylor
  24 hours ago

Homes

A Historic Melbourne Apartment With Artful, Lived-In Interiors

Interior designer Leigh Ellwood invites us inside her 1930s Beverley Hills apartment in South Yarra.

Interiors

How This First-Time Renovator Transformed Her Pint-Sized Melbourne Apartment

A tiny renovation (34 square metres, to be precise) – that packs a big punch!

News

Nicole Lawrence Studio And Curio Practice Pop Up In Sydney

The two rising design stars open the doors to their week-long shop and showroom in Paddington.

Architecture

Turning Back Time In A Classic Melbourne Brick Home

Agius Scorpo Architects strip a Yarraville, Melbourne house back to basics, revealing and enhancing functional spaces within.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Similar Stories

Art

Duality And Reality With Artist Sally Lee Anderson

Layering the scenes of her immediate reality with those of others collected via social media, Sally Anderson's new exhibition questions the

Studio Visit

These Hazy, Sunburnt Paintings Are A Call For Climate Action

Kane Lehanneur's evocative, abstract practice has shifted with the increasing urgency of the climate crisis.

Art

An Epic New Exhibition Celebrating The Women Bark Painters Of Arnhem Land

A conversation with Myles Russell-Cook, Curator of Indigenous Art at NGV, about 'Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala', which is on now...

This Week

Father's Day Favourites

Elevate Your Dad's Wardrobe This Father's Day With An Epic 20% Off Seed Heritage!

Seed Heritage has everything you need to level up your gift-giving efforts and dad’s personal style - and we have a special 20% offer for
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Give Dad A Dose Of (Stylish) Wanderlust With Bespoke Luggage From July!

Gift dad bespoke luggage from our favourite travel brand July and receive a complimentary personalised luggage tag worth $85!

Interiors

A Majestic Garden House That Transcends Aesthetics

The landscape is the mesmerising star of the show in Garden House by Arent&Pyke and Polly Harbison Design.

Architecture

Turning Back Time In A Classic Melbourne Brick Home

Agius Scorpo Architects strip a Yarraville, Melbourne house back to basics, revealing and enhancing functional spaces within.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Father's Day Favourites

Find The Perfect Book For Dad With 20% Off From Hardie Grant Publishing!

From the best barbecuing recipes to epic travel inspiration, you'll find the perfect book for dad in our edit of Hardie Grant Publishing's f...
Christina Karras

Shopping

Kip&Co Team Up With Robert Gordon For A Fun-Filled Ceramic Range

The loveable local brands have created a new playful ceramics collection, bringing prints and colour to range of hand-crafted vases!
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Announcing The Design Files Father's Day Favourites 2022!

Find the best gifts for dad and score special deals with our Father's Day Favourites online shopping event!

Studio Visit

Inside Elena Strohfeldt's Beautifully Therapeutic Ceramics Practice

How the self taught artist started making ceramics as a way to work through a painful trauma, channeling it into whimsical vessels.
Christina Karras

Homes

A Historic Melbourne Apartment With Artful, Lived-In Interiors

Interior designer Leigh Ellwood invites us inside her 1930s Beverley Hills apartment in South Yarra.

Stays

Escape To An Adorable Country Cottage Overlooking The Grampians

Stoneycroft Cottage features a 1864-built bluestone cottage and converted shearer's quarters, on a picturesque farm in regional Victoria!
Christina Karras
  10 hours ago

Interiors

How This First-Time Renovator Transformed Her Pint-Sized Melbourne Apartment

A tiny renovation (34 square metres, to be precise) – that packs a big punch!

Father's Day Favourites

Shop Luxurious Outdoor Essentials For Dad With 20% Off The Grampians Goods Co.

This one is for the dads who love camping, picnics, and a hot cocoa by the fire! We've got 20% off The Grampian Goods Co.!
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Former Shopfront Turned Architecturally-Designed Home In Coburg Hits The Market

Behind an unassuming facade unfolds a brilliantly designed and sun-filled Coburg home, and it's for sale!
Bea Taylor
  24 hours ago

News

Shop Dreamy Pastel Landscapes In Collection III From ‘Palette by Jono Fleming’

Introducing interior stylist Jono Fleming’s third art collaboration with Sicilian-Australian artist Chanel Sohier.
Christina Karras

News

Nicole Lawrence Studio And Curio Practice Pop Up In Sydney

The two rising design stars open the doors to their week-long shop and showroom in Paddington.

Similar Stories

Art

Duality And Reality With Artist Sally Lee Anderson

Layering the scenes of her immediate reality with those of others collected via social media, Sally Anderson's new exhibition questions the

Studio Visit

These Hazy, Sunburnt Paintings Are A Call For Climate Action

Kane Lehanneur's evocative, abstract practice has shifted with the increasing urgency of the climate crisis.

Art

An Epic New Exhibition Celebrating The Women Bark Painters Of Arnhem Land

A conversation with Myles Russell-Cook, Curator of Indigenous Art at NGV, about 'Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala', which is on now...

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net