Caitlin Sheedy & Jonathan McBurnie — New Works on Paper

Flipbook Gallery, 2009

PILGRAMAGE THROUGH THE INTERIOR

The recent pen and gouache work by Cailtin Sheedy signifies transition in many ways. The travelers who inhabited her earlier work have found themselves suddenly lifted from the monochromatic printing press into the chaotically elastic realm of drawing. For Sheedy, this new world is vibrant, detailed, tactile but still completely transitory. Wine bottles fly upward, branches grow out of ears and your bedroom remains intact… it’s just in the back yard. Everything in these images is in a constant state of flux. We follow characters being pulled ambivalently through narratives of interior and exterior and every possibility between. They navigate in a surreal yet familiar abstract space, negotiating warped perspectives, domestic props, fragments of time and memory.

Through this narrative we discover ‘destination’ as a relative concept. Our goals work more and more like illusion; in our sights but nevertheless continuously circumventing us. Like the characters in these works we battle cynicism, apathy, delusion but nevertheless- we keep going.  Sheedy’s travelers challenge this constant by asking- When our existence seems at times so non-sensical, so random, so warped… why do we keep going? Like us, these characters never meet their destination; they only interact with new arrangements of the same familiar symbols passing through interiors and exteriors.

When asked about her influences, Sheedy mainly cites artists from Queensland (incidentally, Ron McBurnie being a major one). Her job at the Museum of Brisbane further shapes her relationship with this particular place and time of art making. Sheedy recently visited Japan on a Youth Arts Mentoring Project, which has created a new exterior for her art. Like her characters, she yearned to travel- and now she has. So where do the travelers go now? What happens when our seemingly fulfilled goals grant us no closure? The answer is quite simply, we go into freefall or in Sheedy’s own words- ‘We come undone.’

This body of work deals with the corresponding sense of ‘freefall’ negotiating the polarised relationships that occur.

Like the human journey, this body of work may never be ‘finished’. It will simply be extended. Through this rejection of framing (both literal and metaphoric) Sheedy is actually creating an infinite frame for us to travel through. It is in this idea that Sheedy’s work is given its real task, its destination.

This work documents the pilgrimage on the infinite voyage towards transcendence. It is through the pursuit of this unattainable goal that we begin to know ourselves- perhaps in a tree, perhaps at a tea party, perhaps walking a dreamscape. We realize that our destination is not so important. It is this sense of travel, of being in the present but also of knowing infinite possibility, which becomes our enduring reality and our ultimate pilgrimage.

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