rebecca dagnall artwork

rebecca dagnall

"For the past eight years my work has been an exploration of suburbia. Inspired by the lived experience of this all too familiar space, my work has been a series of explorations into notions of nostalgia and the real, the beauty of the banal, suburban iconography and the ongoing investigation into peoples’ relationships with their immediate surroundings.

The process of getting to this point has been a life long journey. The realisation of the ordinariness of life and the commonalities that we, as people, share has fuelled my investigation. When we strip away the glitz and the glam that sometimes conceals our ordinariness, what we are left with is the reality of our own existence. There is nothing pessimistic in this view, as it is within this notion that I find beauty in life.

This new series explores pockets of “Paradise in Suburbia.” It is an exploration of the relationships that people develop with places in their suburbs. The work is a window into a psychological space where our experience and memory play a large part in how we perceive our surroundings. When I was a child my father and I would go canoeing at a branch of the Canning River that ran through Thornlie. Mum would help get the canoe on to the roof rack because dad had limited mobility, due to Multiple Sclerosis. At the other end, we would wait by the river until someone else came along and we would ask for their help unloading the canoe. That part of the river holds so much for me now; it is imbued with many emotions layered with fond memories of my father. It is this connection between meaning and place that this current series captures.

There is an element of documentary work in this series as all of the places photographed are in actual suburbs; however, the work is more about our perceptions than it is about the space actually depicted in the work. In the areas where the image overlaps there are layers of icons and images that allude to the iconography of heavy metal culture. It is in these mirrored patterns that the skulls and creatures dwell, here the faces and totemic images give the work a depth that goes beyond an analysis of the physical and into the realm of our experience.

Humans bring meaning to whatever space they inhabit; this space in turn becomes far more than a material reality, it becomes a treasury of stories and memories, both factual and embellished, both real and imagined."

Rebecca Dagnall 2009