Fiona West Encounter: Sea 2011 Monoprint

Fiona West: Souvenirs of Self

Wed 6 Mar - Thu 21 Mar 2013

Fiona West’s work explores the question, “How do I, as a recent white South African immigrant, explore the contemporary Australian landscape?”

West interrogates her uneasy relationship with a new and vast country by exploring issues of migration and transformation using paint. She questions the rhymes and contrasts between landscape and animal symbolisms in Africa and Australia and the way in which animals are powerful signifiers for a sense of place.

“New vegetation, new scents, similar horizons, similar sun, different angle, different accents, strange animals, shared night sky and Southern Cross and noticeable absences, all within the 1km radius of my new home in Gippsland.” - Fiona West’s work reminds us that most of us in Australia are connected to immigrant experience.

A strong element in her practice is the exploration and enjoyment of the materiality of paint. She enjoys the spontaneity of pouring acrylic, enamel, ink or water on canvas or paper and plays with the ambiguous nature of the ‘material’ and the relations between different media where one medium can seemingly take the form of another. The work is transformative in both its shamanistic use of shape-shifting animals and its alchemical relationship to paint.