INSIDE WORLDS 2015 / Poimena Gallery, Launceston (Tasmania)
Curated by Angela Casey Inside Worlds is a group exhibition involving myself and painter Amanda Davies. While aesthetically our work is quite different we share a common interest in questions of interiority both psychological, cultural and historical. For my part the title Inside Worlds, speaks to a variety of spatial and temporal experiences that mark out European Australia’s post-colonial present. From its colonial inception/invasion as a site of peripheral curiosity and displacement , Australia has existed within a liminal fragmented space . Of Europe but not European, monstrous in its differences both indigenous and convict, Australia’s cultural imagination presents as both inside and outside itself.
Existing somewhere within the post-colonial space of the uncanny, Australian European identity is mediated through the unsettling experience of catching oneself, simultaneously looking in and out at oneself. Dream like, one might imagine looking through a window into a house we think is our own, only to glimpse ourselves already inside, an ‘us’ who at that same moment see’s me looking at them, or is it them looking at me? Just what exactly does this peculiar exchange suggest? It invites of course various interpretations; but in relation to my work this inside outside dichotomy points to amongst other things, the impossibilities of origins or beginnings. Instead the self, history and culture are made up of a constellation of multiple becomings.
Australian European identity and contemporary masculinity is thus marked by a sense of lack or incompleteness that haunts our collective imagination. Trapped between the fantasy of an imaginary unified beginning and the violently un-unified beginning that is, we reside within a confabulated inside/outside space. European Australia is thus trapped within a semiotic bind of its own making, stuck in an ongoing moment of refusal, that continues to deny the monstrous form of convict masculinity and by extension the monstrous incompleteness embedded within European Australian identity itself.
In my work this uncanny inside/outside quality to Australian masculinity allows for a critique of ideology and identity, however it also permits a productive manifestation of difference. Understood this way the stuttered deviancy of convict masculinity offers up a means of re-configuring the performance of identity and Australian masculinity around a monstrous becoming that sees difference not as lack but becoming.