Thursday, 2 October 2008

Anna Davern

Today CLOG presents to you an insight on Anna Davern's beautifully crafted tin works. We had to field numerous enquiries as to how Anna managed to carve out her figures, and the answer is that Anna does it all lovingly and skillfully by hand. No lasers here, Anna's the real deal!

Sourcing materials from op shops, garage sales and eBay, Anna makes an effort not to source collectable tins so that no collectors are bereft of their precious goods. The most Anna has paid for a tin was one that she recently bought on eBay for $24, but unfortunately it is not part of the exhibition as it was a recent purchase.

One of Anna's favourite piece from the current exhibition is And Don't Take a Bite Of It Orrigh (pictured below) which was inspired by Puberty Blues, the seminal 1970s book/film about teenage rites of passage and Sydney surf culture. You know the one I'm talking about, it featured memorable lines like "Where's my chiko roll!" and "Don't eat my pie!" Aahh, those were the days...

Check out the great detailing - hot dogs! Isn't it amazing!

Anna Davern, Buena Vista

Buena Vista is the culmination of Anna Davern’s work and ideas over the past four years. Leading this process have been questions of national identity and place. The land; its owners, rulers, development, inhabitants, flora and fauna and our responses and assumptions about these are central to Davern’s concerns. With Buena Vista landscape and sentiment are the vehicles for Davern’s exploration and expression.

In 2005 Davern had the exhibition Beaut here at Craft Victoria. The installation Muster, presenting seventy-five kangaroo brooches bounding across the wall, heralded a shift in Davern’s work. It introduced both a new medium, with the use of old biscuit and tea tins, as well as a distinct expression of Davern’s interest in Australianness and national identity.

In 2007 Davern undertook a four-month residency at the Estonian Academy for the Arts in Tallinn. Here she continued her exploration of national identity via the kitsch souvenir, deconstructing and reconstructing the Russian matryoshka doll.

Buena Vista presents an enjoyable and though provoking challenge to notions of Australian identity, belonging and beauty, predominantly through the use of landscape. The works are a series of cut outs and additions, displacements and replacements, mix ups and surprises: an Australian flag as the cape on a superhero ram and a fleeing fox, the Queen and Prince Phillip as kangaroos with their large eared offspring and the silhouette of removed indigenous Australians.

Although the scale is larger than Davern’s previous work, there is still the invitation to take a closer look and make discoveries. Davern’s work continues to evolve and here she makes some strong and unsettling comments about national identity while maintaining her great whimsy and humour.


To read more about Anna's recent trip to Estonia, do visit Anna's blog, or you can click here to go straight to the Estonia posts.

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