Freelancer and aspiring journalist from Adelaide. Visual Arts graduate & current journalism student. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, art & food. I also write for The Adelaidian // theadelaidian.net/author/georgina-tselekidis
An assemblage of found objects with profound connotations
2011 SALA featured artist Sue Kneebone is currently exhibiting her striking collection at the Art Gallery of South Australia until September 4, 2016. Adelaide born and bred, Kneebone's collection is a bewildering sight, with a series of photographic prints incorporating metaphoric imagery. Featured below, nineteenth century family photos and bone sculpted rifles make this exhibition an almost eerie one. Ram and goat head hybrid photographs take centre stage, luring viewers in upon entering the small and illuminated space of Gallery 10.
Photo Courtesy of Sue Kneebone Website
It's quite easy to stand aback and question Kneebone's underlying artistic motive, but delving deeper into her striking ornamental pieces, there is more to be discovered. Kneebone explores notions of cultural identity through the inclusion of her great-grandparents 1890's wedding portrait in her piece For better or for worse. Her grandparents ran a pastoral property in the Gawler Ranges, north of the Eyre Peninsula, which has emphasised Kneebone's connection to place, time and identity. The primary and fundamental core of her work revolves around colonisation and the impact it has placed on the past, present and future.
The sepia tones of the wedding portrait set an idea of time; the contradiction between the contemporary and the old. Photography was and still is a prominent means of communication, which can suggest so much from first glance. The portrait comprises skulls, a rifle made from animal bones and a dead night parrot at the couples feet. Through the incorporation of these diverse and distinct elements, Kneebone challenges the viewer's perception and understanding of the relevant narrative. This confusion is something we can all relate to; questioning our past and understanding our roots enables us to fully embrace, accept and live in the present.
I believe Kneebone attempts to convey colonisation as she searches for truth and meaning of her own family history during such a significant time in Australian history. Her apparent 'field trips' are evident through the signifying objects and hybrid like imagery that create an 'uneasy tension between the unspoken interiority of Australian colonial society'. Kneebone's intention is to draw the viewer in to consider the fundamental subtexts such as 'disturbed ecologies and dispossession from colonial incursions', as quoted on her website. Her exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia includes a new acquisition Angel Inn, which is inspired by the name of a hotel that Sue's great-great-great grandmother Mary Bailey worked in order to support her seven children. This connection between Sue's past and present is metaphorical of our own ancestry and roots that personally impact us in this modern age.