Urban abstraction is, in part, the result of a three month residency spent in Paris after being awarded the 2017 Terrence and Lynette Fern Cite Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowship thanks to the Power Institute, USYD. During the residency, I visited a number of housing estates across Paris built in the middle of the 20th century.
In my drawings, I aim highlight the building’s function as homes, as well as their modernist forms and lines, in order to reveal their origins as simultaneously altruistic, beautiful, impractical, and cold. An exercise in idealistic social engineering, and now a cultural signifier of lower socioeconomic communities, these estates are ultimately often deemed to be an urban planning disaster. Ironically, while these estates may be problematic on many social levels, the modernist aesthetic of what is now commonplace housing, embodies abstract geometric qualities that relate intimately to so called 'high art' concerns of modernist and minimalist abstraction.
For the Ideal home exhibition i am developing a new body of work based on the Sirius building at The Rocks, Sydney. The Sirius Building was designed to house and improve the lives of the neediest in our community. Yet, all too often social housing developments and their tenants do not receive the same consideration by government as do those in private accommodation, which is evident today, where the Sirius building has been offered for redevelopment for the wealthy.
I have used the underlying symmetry of this iconic building and represented it in terms of order, abstraction, and geometry to elevate it through aesthetic contemplation, so that it contradicts the ordinariness of its existence and allows for at least the possibility of transcendence and a fresh way of seeing this brutalist building.