87 Ridgeway Ave, Southport, Qld 4215 Phone: 07 5532 7170

Deb Mostert Artist Statement

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Last year I received an RADF (Regional Arts Development Fund) grant for concept development which enabled me to visit the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney to view their collection of vintage toys. I worked with a curator looking through the toys which languished in storage very rarely ever seeing the light of day! The curator allowed me to have a few toys out at a time and as I wasn’t allowed to touch anything myself, I directed her to move them (with the white gloves on!) In this way we did set up quite a few scenarios and ‘conversations’ between toys, hinting at narrative and enjoying the potential stories that could emerge, which I then photographed and painted.

Narratives were in fact plentiful and the potential for stories endless when the static objects were put into relationship with each other. The objects taken from museum storage and played with came into a new existence. Without the interaction they ceased to really exist beyond being merely a record, a sample of what had been.

It struck me how much this is like our lives. We all have a kind of quirky charm begging for animation and interrelation. All the allure, history, and value are meaningless without the spark of life. It drew me back to words that animate my life: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Without love our lives are static, our narratives limited and our stories are stifled. In painting these scenes, animating the static through story, perhaps you’ll sense my hope that there is a way back to reconnect with love at its source.

Additionally, these works represent a continuing desire to look for paradoxes. These paintings show emptied items… forgotten and passed over objects…yet they also show the wear of service, of play, they hold memory and they startle us with recognition. They are at once both sacred and banal. They are painted to look real but they are obviously not. They are worthless to some and at the same time precious to a collector. The scale of the objects is designed to confuse and delight, and often incompatible pieces sit in comfortable tension.

The works can be read in many different ways as the objects become reflectors of the experiences of the viewer. My works aim to reveal the narratives that can lurk beneath the humble surfaces of plastic, porcelain and tin.

Deb Mostert, September 2009