ART IN BOXES 1977 – 2006
"Throughout my career I have used the box as a means of presenting my ideas and concerns in an intimate way. The box seems an ideal vehicle for capturing my ideas; they are part of our everyday language and thinking and yet they represent a very special kind of magic."
In 1977, inspired by the women’s art movement, I created my first boxes combining assemblage and collage, Male’s Money-box and Monthly Cycle – The Women's Art Game.
In each boxed assemblage I strive to communicate some private opinion, amusing thought, area of concern or link with the past. Each assemblage becomes a very personal ‘memory box’, a statement of narrative about a subject of particular interest to me.
A box is only a box until its contents are exposed, then the viewer becomes involved with the idea, developing their own meanings over and above my original intent.
Kitchen Creation 1, the first in a series of works titled Masterpieces from the Kitchen, was completed in 1977. Meal for Magritte was another box in this series.
Icon was created for the ‘Mass Media – Mixed Media’ exhibition in 1990.
I have often used boxes to create an individual response to the compelling and uniquely Australian regions I have explored – Lake Mungo, Lake Eyre, the Simpson Desert and the coast and inland areas of the Kimberley.
The shelves in my studio are filled with objects that I have brought back from journeys. Each shelf is lined with boxes of dried plants, bleached bones, dusty bottles, feathers, stones, shells and seedpods.
I have also collected the debris of past travellers – rusty drink cans, barbed wire, broken glass and corroded iron.
Over time these fragments have become part of one of my mini-environments, constructed to express something of the dryness, fragility, emptiness and loneliness of the arid landscapes that have been a continuing source of inspiration for me.
These landscape boxes have taken a number of different forms. Sometimes they are horizontal and close with lids. Sometimes they are vertical and close with doors. Sometimes they are glass-fronted and do not close at all.