Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Craft Cubed featured event: Stephanie Hicks 'A Short Season'


Using the medium of paper, Stephanie Hicks' A Short Season looks at how our childhood recollections inform our understanding of it. Crafting her small-scale collages and three-dimensional sculptures from vintage materials gleaned from books, magazines and old letters, A Short Season is a collection of beautifully delicate paper works (including a range of colourful wreaths!).

The exhibition is on till this Saturday at NO NO Gallery in North Melbourne, so make sure you see it!

Elegy (detail)

My collages explore a shift in the relationship between children and the natural world. As a child growing up in Western Victoria in the 1970’s and 80’s, my relationship to nature was direct and experiential. Picking all the lemons off the tree in our backyard and squeezing them into jars which were left to fester in the dim light of our rambling garage; family picnics at the swamp - abundant yabbies, tree trunks (both upright and prone) and (depending on the time of year) water to navigate; cubby houses and kingdoms, built and conquered…

The element of the unknown is a feature of nature that has worked in its favour for generations of young and curious explorers. Now, fed by a culture of fear and risk minimisation, it is in turn something dangerous and overwhelming. Nature is also mediated through the screen, as events unfold on a catastrophic level on the nightly news and Internet.

Lovely big fish (detail)

Lamenting the pace at which children grow up, I also realise the many benefits they will experience today’s world. The unprecedented developments in technology and communication allow access to information far beyond the didactic knowledge provided in the encyclopedias I grew up with, and have used in my collages.

That being said, my grandparents had a collection of books, which was in my mind both extensive and simply amazing. It included the story books and annuals that my parents’ generation had grown up with, providing me with hours upon hours of blissful escapism. I am interested in unearthing the potential for these objects to work both with and against memory in speaking about a particular time of childhood. The series ‘Lasting Tribute’ is an exploration of these ideas.

Wild Lion

While I feel fortunate to have experienced my childhood in a particular place and time, through the process of making these works I have begun to understand that previous generations may also hold an idealised and nostalgic version of childhood related to their own experience. I am attempting to locate this within the contemporary experience of childhood which is obviously removed from me, experienced by my generation who are now becoming parents and re-experiencing childhood as a spectator.

- Stephanie Hicks

Again and Longing

Building a snowman

1 comment:

Liesl Pfeffer said...

I saw this exhibition two weekends ago. It's really amazing... Impressive in the amount of work that must have gone into those wreaths, and also just really beautiful work!