With a nod to Virginia Woolf's essay 'A Room of One's Own' from 1929, artist Tai Snaith has conducted a series of conversations with mid-career and emerging women and non-binary artists whom she admires. These relaxed, colloquial exchanges explore shifts and similarities that artists face in their lives and artistic practices. Together, they attempt to break down the how and why of making art. They look at physical processes and how they relate, not only to outcomes, but also connect to the unconscious or non-visual parallels and needs in our lives.
Notions such as self-doubt, control, meaning, shame, risk, parenthood and radicalism are some of the rich topics covered.
This project is supported by The Australia Council for the Arts.
A Task for Many Hands (Deborah Kelly)
As artists, how we can learn to use our megaphones to create a world we can bear to live in? Can a knife have a mind of its own? Can desire be an animating force?
In this conversation Tai Snaith converses with Deborah Kelly about her animated paper work 'LYING WOMEN' from the MPRG collection and the process of making it. They talk of freeing the female figures from white man's HIStory and letting them rub up against each other in HERstory. They go on to explore a series of juicy topics from starting her own religion to using art-making as an attempt to save her own life.
Sweeping in and Sorting Life (Elizabeth Gower)
How can the overload of images in daily life be seen as a positive thing? How can we keep ideas alive over decades of practice? How do you KEEP EVERYTHING and not become a hoarder?
In this conversation Tai Snaith and Elizabeth Gower discuss an early work of hers on paper called 'Precious Life' from the MPRG collection. They explore the practice of collecting and sorting both actual materials and symbols and how it has adapted and changed over her life. Elizabeth shares how she learnt to 'accept the chaos.'
Willing to Fight and Willing to Fail (Fiona McMonagle)
How can the way in which something is painted affect the way we read it? How is the self-discipline involved in painting similar to the self-discipline of an athlete? How can we forget the cost of our materials in order to paint freely?
In this episode Tai Snaith converses with Fiona McMonagle about her watercolour painting 'Wonky' from the MPRG collection. This work is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Fiona's fascination with complicated female subjects and making up her own rules. Here, she reveals her understanding of the medium of watercolour and her willingness to fail as part of the process.
Wrestling with Control (Lily Mae Martin)
What does it mean to push past perfectionism? How can feeling powerless create more power for us in the end? How do we strike a balance between depicting the absurdity of life and the serious nature of compulsion?
In this episode Tai Snaith and Lily Mae Martin start by deciphering her work on paper from the MPRG collection called 'Wrestling.' They go on to unpack a series of ideas around how we see the female body, comfort zones, censorship and control.
Together they navigate the very personal terrain of pushing through self-loathing and how making art relates to motherhood, career, health and life.
Stitching Together (Lisa Waup)
As artists, how can we fill in the gaps of knowledge about our cultural histories? How can nature and country act as a connector? How can collaboration help strengthen our practice?
Tai Snaith kicks off this new mini-series by speaking with Gundijmara/ Italian/ Torres Strait islander artist LISA WAUP about her powerfully personal, shield-like work on paper from the MPRG collection called 'Admit to Care.'
Together they discuss Lisa's process of collecting history and stitching it together in order to 'protect the layers.'
Always Looking, Always Learning (Meredith Turnbull)
How does being a teacher affect your art practice? How can an artist successfully engage with an institution's collection? How do we create our own opportunities and categories? What does it mean to trust your gut?
For this final episode of the second series, Tai and Meredith discuss a broad range of topics around what it means to have a multifaceted, self-driven and supported practice. They share their love and importance of championing OTHER artists - what it means to not be a curator but to keep curatorial skills as part of your practice. Once again the notions of collapsing the boundaries between traditional notions of craft, ornament and art are highlighted and celebrated. Meredith praises the approachability of jewellery and the way it acts as a continuation of dialogue around ideas of genre, discipline and material values.
Together they question what 'achieving' and 'professionalism' really mean. Finally, the importance of looking back, taking stock of our practices; recognising what we have overcome and achieved and really asking which direction we want to take next.
Links, more episodes, and information about A World of One's Own, at taisnaith.com/podcast
Audio production: Bec Fary
Theme music: 'End of the Day' by Phia www.listentophia.com