Posted by: theoriginalmiss | September 7, 2014


PAULA BROOM Artist Statement S C H I S M

My current solo exhibition of mobile street photography and digital artworks, entitled Schism, is currently running at the Gallery Mercure, Hotel Mercure, 226 Victoria Road in Sydney’s Kings Cross from 3rd September until 28th September 2014.

Here “Schism” refers not only to the stylistic difference between my less edited, black and white street photography and the heavily edited, coloured digital artworks, but also to both the subject matter and focus. For me the schism is the difference between perceived reality and the actual reality: the perceived reality that everything seems well in this world, represented by the black and white work, versus the reality that the earth’s natural systems are in serious decline and we are heading for trouble, alluded to in the coloured works.

The black and white street shots are not your usual street photography, although they do depict everyday scenes of our mostly denatured and urbanised lives: we are constantly on the go, rushing through our urban landscapes, pushing through crowds, shopping, talking and occasionally finding a much-needed respite away from the crowd. Through light, shadow and silhouette, I seek the shapes cast, along with the interplay of pattern and repetition. It is a form of printmaking for me, like a woodcut, lino print, or lithograph. A painter friend of mine describes this work as “demonstrating Gaston Bachelard’s ‘Poetics of Space’ in the ordinary everyday”.

I am intrigued by how humans fit, live and play in our constructed environments, especially when research so obviously points to a need, psychologically and aesthetically, for nature in our lives. Through this work, I attempt to seek what is both intriguing and striking in the mundane streets of our cities, whilst highlighting the increasing disconnection and isolation we find in our contemporary urban lives.

The coloured digital blends on the other hand are more complex, layered images featuring children, isolated and alone in landscapes, cityscapes or against a backdrop of nothing, with superimposed insects, mammals or birds. They are also reminiscent of prints, screenprints in particular, yet their similarity to the black and white work ends there.

They very subtly talk of biodiversity loss and species decline: here, as a mother, my concern is that we are leaving our children an impoverished biosphere, a depleted legacy. I am both consumed by a sense of sorrow at the impending loss of over 880 native flora and fauna currently facing extinction in NSW alone , and frustrated by my own sense of inability to do anything concrete about it. In exploring this issue, with a view to bringing it into the collective consciousness, I hope that ultimately, collectively, we might act to preserve that which our children, and our children’s children will inherit from us.

September is National Biodiversity Month, and September 7th Threatened Species Day, commemorating the date of the death of the last Thylacine in Hobart Zoo in 1936 . This seems a fitting time to start a conversation about this issue…

The online gallery for Schism can be accessed here:

I hope you enjoy the work.


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