La Trobe University art students find home in work

Perennial themes of life, love and loss are explored in the end of year exhibition for La Trobe University’s fine art honours students.

Course co-ordinator Elliot Howard said the works were a culmination of in-depth research in visual arts studio practice. 

“Taken together we can see a genuine attempt to make sense of the world we live in that results in a series of very high quality projects,” he said.

Catherine Shields’ piece Committed to memory is a largRe photograph showing an area of grass where someone she loved lived. When the caravan was moved it left a bald patch, the focus of the work.

“I was exploring how we use photography in memorialising things and people and our lives,” Shields said. “I looked at how much we edit and how much we leave out.”

That’s where the large black band across her work comes in.

“It can represent censorship, a glitch in the photographic process or the black armband of mourning,” Shields said.

Her honours thesis on the “work of mourning” is an attempt to give wider context to her own feelings.

Fellow student Lyn Cole also asks questions of her audience.

Cole chose to explore the idea of home after recently making the big move from Mansfield to Bendigo.

Her ceramic works are the result of asking people, “what is the significance of home?”

Family portraits and pet paw prints feature alongside abstract impressions that take a little longer to decode.

Viewer participation is a theme carried on by Tom Pender. 

His installation looks at “marginal spaces”, places that are re-appropriated for non-traditional use.

Pender said he would be recreating that idea in the gallery itself with his Shrine to phallic worship. “I’m playing with the roles of people who come into the gallery from visitor to tourist or pilgrim,” he said. “I’m bringing them to a semi-religious place.”

The work of Pender, Cole and Shields, will be displayed alongside fellow students Robin Bastes-Koroi, Chloe Mackie, Belinda Philp and Michelle Saville at La Trobe University’s Visual Arts Centre until December 20.

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