Makes sense together, Peacock Gallery 2018
Makes sense together, Peacock Gallery, Auburn, 7 July - 2 September 2018
Makes Sense Together presents a collection of hand-painted signs created for, and dispersed throughout, the Cumberland Council Locale Festival in 2018. These signs drew their inspiration from a bygone era in Auburn—a collection of park signs now located around the corner from the Peacock Gallery, in Ray Marshall Reserve. These new signs in Makes Sense Together are a meditation on place and community. They do not names places, but rather speak to a community that exists in the present, and where we want to be in the future. As a collection, the signs populate the gallery, bringing together stories, experiences and aspirations of place in Western Sydney. The signs are accompanied by video documentation from the Locale Festival and Auburn Botanic Gardens.
During the exhibition we will further present Makes Sense Together (Cherry Blossom) for the Cherry Blossom Festival in August 2018. This work will include our cherry blossom ghillie suits displayed inside the gallery, three cherry blossom ghillie suit stand-ins throughout the festival and a series of street flags on Chiswick Road. The cherry blossom ghillie suits speak to our connection and disconnection to our local environment and communities. We are attempting to fit in through a camouflage suit, which in reality causes us to stand out. Throughout the festival we invite the audience to stand in these camouflage suits in our place, celebrating how difference can bring communities together.
The title of this exhibition has been translated into Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese to speak to our local community as we come together in understanding through art, making and cultural celebration.
Makes Sense Together
Exhibition Essay by Liam Benson
Hayley Megan French and Carla Liesch found their connection whilst car-pooling to University, and have been working together ever since. Travelling through the Western Sydney landscape, each day they drew an invisible line between their homes and the community of creative thinkers—laying a trail of conversation, humour and memories that would connect their everyday life with a collaborative art practice.
Connections are an essential part of many contemporary artists practice. For artists, finding links in dialogue and building new relationships through creative process offers a message to audiences that we can and do relate to each other in a multitude of ways.
Hayley and Carla’s audience are the people who exist around them in their everyday—from the bustling crowds that flow through Parramatta’s Church Street Mall; to solitary pedestrians meandering through Clandulla State Forest, or the streets of Cumberland Council. By exhibiting in public places throughout Western Sydney, Hayley and Carla are making art for their friends, colleagues, neighbours and strangers alike.
Like grabbing a latte on your way to work, these ideals are woven into the fabric of their art practice and exemplified through their contribution to public exhibitions such as the Parramatta Lanes Festival in 2016. Decorated with the message YOU ARE ONE OF THE REASONS I MAKE ART, Hayley and Carla flew banners down the streets of Parramatta, allowing the loving message to wave in the breeze like outstretched arms.
As artists who exhibit work in such a generous way, Hayley and Carla have not only remembered to include the broader community, they have made them their focus.
For their exhibition Makes Sense Together, Hayley and Carla have developed new work that embraces the local community. The exhibition takes place at Peacock Gallery and includes Makes Sense Together (Cherry Blossom) as a component of the Cherry Blossom Festival in August.
Drawing inspiration from the Cherry Blossom festival, they have created an interactive and site specific work that embodies the colour, texture and pure delight of the abundant flowers that burst to life in August. Paired with these public works are the series of hand-painted signs previously exhibited across the Locale Festival. Featuring compliment phrases such as Part of a team, Lines of desire and Makes sense together, the signs flow like a jigsaw poem for people to discover. In their own words, these signs “do not names places, but rather speak to a community that exists in the present,” which in turn gives potency and meaning to the spaces they mark, acknowledging the people that call Western Sydney their home.
At the core of Makes Sense together (Cherry Blossom) are Hayley and Carla’s pom pom-esque, anti-camouflage ghillie suits. Decorated with hundreds of delicately layered tulle flowers, the delightfully comical and lovingly handmade suits offer a refocused perspective on the Cherry Blossom Festival’s essence and cultural relevance within Auburn.
The artists have flipped the very meaning of the ghillie suit, originally used to hide and become invisible, these suits do the very opposite. Modelled by the artists and displayed in a stand-in interactive installation where people can poke their face through and be photographed, Makes Sense together (Cherry Blossom) offers a platform of visibility for the public. The opportunity to pose within the stand-in literally frames people as the central theme of the festival—for indeed they are the real blossoms that we are celebrating here.
Through their playful and interactive work, Hayley and Carla continue to offer small creative journeys where their audience can draw lines of their own. Some are lines of desire, others are mutual respect; but each line nurtures a sense of togetherness and recognition that in Western Sydney: Here we are, we are here.
Makes sense together, installation view, Peacock Gallery, Auburn. Photos by Garry Trinh