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Humble food meets high art

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The salt sculptures of Ken and Julia Yonetani consider the way food production affects the environment of the Murray River basin in southeast Australia, the origin of the salt used to construct the work. Likewise, Maz Dixon’s paintings and collages feature "The Big Things in Australia" highlighting the influence of the food industry on tourism by depicting some of the giant "sculptures" which litter the Australian landscape.

The beauty of some of the more traditional mediums of photography and sculpture is offset by works that leave the viewer feeling somewhat more uncomfortable. Claire Anna Watson’s film "Sortie" begins with a pair of tweezers plucking pips one at a time from a ripe strawberry. The film progresses to a dissection of the fruit that echoes the look and feel of a gory surgical scene. Sarah Field’s quaint tea set includes human hair and fur which recalls the surrealist Méret Oppenheim sculpture of a fur-covered tea set, "Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure)" made in 1936.

For "Lifescapes," artist Christine Turner says, "I have found that biscuit tins require a simple configuration when presented in artworks. Each tin provides a great deal of information of its own. Information about societal customs, the economy, consumerism and much more." Most people, when viewing the work, circle the parameter recognising tins from their own mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. The installation draws on people’s nostalgia for familiar things and a certain time or place. 

“In our house, the biscuit tin was only brought out on the weekends for afternoon tea. A humble suburban ‘high tea’. One that I relished," says Turner.  "Central to this ritual was the beautiful treasure trove … the Arnott’s biscuit tin. It came with a 3-pound ‘fancy assortment’ of our favourite biscuits, from the delicate Shortbread Cream, to the decadent Monte Carlo. We always ate the Monte Carlos first. Once the biscuit tins were empty they became ‘reliquaries’ for all manner of things. Needlework, gloves, letters, keepsakes of every kind.”

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