Museums have used toys, models and dioramas to explain and comment on the workings of a larger world. Here, artist Kendal Murray has created a miniature surreal world atop an antique purse though her work Déjà vu, Review’. This sculptural mixed media offers a playful look at the domestic world and holiday culture. The miniature world draws us closer, and invites us to investigate.
As we view this strange tableau presented by ‘Deja Vu, Review’ we are the voyeurs and participants, as is the man watching the woman vacuum from afar. This artwork invites the viewer to call upon personal memories of holidays and housework.
Murray’s work explores scenarios that are imbued with social and personalised meaning. Humorous, melancholic and sometimes disturbing, her work is layered with representations of emotional and physical experiences.
There is a fascination for children and adults in these small reflected worlds. Sydney artist and children’s author Jeannie Bakers collages also invite us to explore our everyday natural world and environment. Kendal Murray’s works invite exploration of the dreamland, fantasy and everyday domestic duty.
Drawn from her own collection, Murray uses found objects such as purses, teapots and make up compacts to create fantasy worlds. She also connects to the world of miniature, childhood and dreaming. Although not quite the layering collages of Jeannie Bakers work, it has a similar appeal. It asks us to look closer and seek out familiar objects that appear in a small world. Murray helps us recall the playful freedom we lose in growing up, her work represents a universe of whimsy and nostalgia.
Another miniature world is this view from above of ‘Christmas at San Souci’ work by cermascist Sandra Taylor.
Taylor’s work has been humorously and critically observant of some aspect of Australian ‘norms’, and over the years she has made these observations through metaphors as diverse as pigs, savaloys, palm trees, dogs, cattle, houses, swimming pools and pencil pines.
Seen here from the side is another part of the Christmas tableau collection, titled ‘Garden, Barrier Reef Pond” the three sheep are observing the garden gnomes.
Written by Anni Turnbull, curator, design and society