15 April 2015

painting by Sue MichaelA series of genre paintings depicting the influence of geography as a shaping force in everyday life, as seen in the State’s Mid North, is currently on display at the University of South Australia’s Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre.

Artist Sue Michael’s exhibition titled Mid Northern is on show at The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre’s Kerry Packer Civic Gallery until May 1.

Michael is currently the resident creative with the Mid North Knowledge Partnership under the supervision of Professor Dean Carson and Heidi Hodge, and is a PhD student in Visual Art at UniSA.

“I’m researching the creative adaptations that are evident in the domestic settings of the Mid North, using a framework forwarded by human geographer David Seamon, from the University of Kansas,” Michael says.

“His phenomenal approach to place, where the combination of the life-world, the geographic ensemble and the genius loci are explored, can guide the painter to the pushing and pulling forces within the natural world as they press in on the residents.

“There are many examples to be found there of make-do living, water saving practices, vernacular architecture and particular regional aesthetics that highlight the notion that we have overlooked the importance of geography in shaping our lives.

“This direction can move genre painting beyond ideological concerns into the realm of pre-modern domestic practicalities, reminders of pathways that may be needed as the climate warms.”

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre Executive Director Jacinta Thompson says among arid garden scenes, there is an uplifting mood in the works.

“When viewing Sue’s work, it is evident she incorporates place-making to her painting practice,” Thompson says.

“The art depicts gentle perseverance in a human community. The artwork portrays the everyday world of taken-for-grantedness to which typically we pay no attention.”

Michael says blinding heat, cold winds and drought are shaping forces of the Mid North.

“My ancestors adapted their living spaces with an ingenuity and creative expression that I am only now understanding,” Michael says.

“My research allows me to extract the poetic essence of the location.”

An artist’s talk will be held at 9.30am on Wednesday April 22.

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre’s Kerry Packer Civic Gallery is open 9am to 5pm weekdays and Thursdays until 7pm, and is located on Level 3 of the Hawke Building, UniSA City West campus, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide.

For more information on the exhibition, see The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre website.

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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