Background: material space

Background: material space 2017 first appeared in 9 X 5 NOW Exhibition: ART150 at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery (cur. Elizabeth Gower), Melbourne, in 2017. Background: material space is a standalone artwork. The artwork's medium includes watercolour and lead pencil on wood, and comprises of one component measuring, overall, 23 x 12.7 x 1.4 cm. Background: material space is in a private collection: Perth, 2018.

The two sides of this conversation in Background: material space, 2017, are separated by a gulf of space that is, in figurative painting, recognised as the background. This space, though, is cut into the picture plane. It is a channel of real space we share while standing in front of the split conversation. At the same time, it is also a channel of pictorial space we cannot share. One half is ‘an expected conversation’ while, unexpectedly, the other half it is an ‘actual conversation’.


Image: Tom Roberts, By the treasury, 1889

Tom Roberts
By the Treasury (1889) oil on wood panel
23.6 x 14.2 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of The Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation, Founder Benefactor, 2002

From the exhibition’s page (accessed 6/08/2020):

– half of an expected conversation

– other half of the actual conversation