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Ancestors project

This body of two and three dimensional work looks to the past as a source of images and visual language.

It concerns the effects of materials to produce an insight or a memory of a subject and derives from a small photograph taken in about 1910 of my grandmother's family; unsmiling and squinting in the sun. It is a relic of the family and is damaged from folding and repairs to its surface.  Treating the photograph as an artefact, I made some drawings of this damage marks on its surface and others that incorporate these marks as visual elements.

The work also draws on clothing, artefacts, housing, landscape, faces, and figures that are in, or associated with, the photograph.

The largest series is a group of seven drawings representing members of the family through the clothes they wear in the photograph.

Acknowledging the way that materials can evoke memories, I used materials available to the people in the photograph - paper, timber, clay, muslin, tarletan, string and wax.

By evoking people now lost through materials and context, rather than likenesses, these works are a form of 'circumstantial' portraiture.

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Ancestors: in a box 2018
air drying clay and beeswax in found box 20x35x10cm

Image: Peter Morgan/Robin Hearfield

Ancestors on location 2016

digital print on photographic paper 40Hx50Wcm


Image: Peter Morgan/Robin Hearfield

Ancestors: in a fence 2018
Re-purposed fence palings 280x900x5cm

Ancestors in shellac 2018
Bird wire, craft wire mesh, shellac 60x80x20cm (installed)


Image: Peter Morgan/Robin Hearfield


Image: Peter Morgan/Robin Hearfield

Ancestors: dust and ashes 2018
Air-drying clay, bitumen, beeswax, shellac, ink 15x20x20cm


Image: Peter Morgan

Sheets of ancestors 2018
Beeswax, ink, tea, cotton thread on reclaimed bedsheets 450x120cms (installed)  


Ancestors: airing 2018 muslin, tarletan, timber 180x150x120cm


Ancestors: flyscreen 2018

wire mesh, steel mesh 80x70x20cm

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Ancestors on the map 2016 Digital prints 30 x 20 cm 

Ancestors family group 2018 

Gouache on oil paper 30 x 40cm

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Uncle Jack 2018

ink, digital print, wax on paper 20x12cms

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Aunty Emmie 2018

Fabric paint on sheeting 10 x 30 cm


Ancestors: scantlings 2019

Reclaimed timber

Various sizes up to 30 x 10 x 5 cms


Grandpa 2019

Charcoal on paper, 45 x 60 cm


Granny 2019

Charcoal on paper, 45 x 60 cm

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