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Port Pirie, South Australia, Australia born 1952

Clouded interaction 1 1998 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: glass, art glass, painted and hand blown glass

Primary Insc: Signed and dated on base, engraved "Maureen Williams 1998".
Dimensions: 53.8 h 37.0 diameter cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased with Funds from the Moet & Chandon Australian Art Foundation
Accession No: NGA 2000.2

The boundaries between the traditional Australian domestic interior and the outside world have become marked by the use of codified materials and conventions, such as the metal mesh insect screen. The insect screen allows openness and security, modifying and softening the view beyond, yet obscuring the interior from outside. Margaret West exploits the dichotomies of this ubiquitous material in this screen-like work, cutting it into shapes of the four-petalled damask rose and painting each to emphasise the moiré effects of light and shadow.1 The grid-like repetition of these abstracted forms suggests the symbolism of the cultivated rose garden, as a mediating element to the undomesticated natural environment beyond the home. It also alludes to the woven structure of that most cherished of domestic textiles, the formal white damask tablecloth, with its double-sided and subtle white-on-white reflective pattern, often based on roses. West’s wall of roses is permeable and elusive, a metaphor for continuity and tradition in the face of change.2

1 See Julie Ewington, ‘Wide (true) blue yonder’ in Object, no 28, Sydney: Object – Australian Centre for Craft and Design, 2000, for an account of the development West’s rose imagery in relation to her jewellery.
2 West developed this work during a 2000–01 Fellowship from the Australia Council.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra