Australia born 1952
Number three: from the series "Queensland - Out West" (1982) Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver, coloured pencils, coloured dyes, watercolour
I made the series of 13 photographs, from which this work comes, on my first trip back to Queensland after three years living interstate. The trip was partly nostalgic, revisiting the hot and quintessentially Queensland lifestyle of timber houses, subtropical plants, and laconic locals. The tiny towns were my focus, not the great inland vistas or fabulous coastlines. It was really a road trip with my mother, driving from Brisbane out to small communities like Monto, Murgon, Gayndah and Kingaroy. The final prints are small, personal postcards, souvenirs or mementos of the trip.
At the time I was interested in hand-colouring photographs, a technique associated with women’s work and craft. This approach seemed a good way to visually re-enforce the personal and intimate quality of the prints, as well as being sympathetic to the subject matter. In Queensland – out west, the hand-colouring also plays with the promotional notion of the postcard, being reminiscent of those 1950s and 1960s scenes of iconic Queensland tourist spots like the Gold Coast or the Great Barrier Reef.
Currently I am artist-in-residence at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, working with the one million specimens in the National Herbarium. The Herbarium images are more refined and sophisticated than those in Queensland – out west, and the computer and cross processing have replaced hand-colouring, but the desire to experiment with traditional forms and my interest in popular culture remains. Photography and digital processes are tools that enable me to explore aesthetic, social and historic attributes of Australian culture and lifestyle.
Robyn Stacey, 2002
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002