About the work
The placing of a gate on Northbourne* Avenue, Canberra’s major road connecting City Hill with the Federal Hwy, the dividing line between the landmark Melbourne and Sydney buildings and their surrounding suburbs, a location as the perfect confluence of forces in which to express the unresolved negotiation of a treaty in Australia’s founding, establishment and constitution. The double gate makes obvious how barriers, division and imbalance work, creating differing and assymetrical power, order, space, and access. Where ESTABLISHMENT sits delicately on top like a handwritten title, a signature, a law it feels fragile. While atop its pair a TREATY flag flys from a familiar flagpole whose arms extend within where an oval shaped hole in the gate infers access, self-reflection, engagement and agreement and is a reminder this is not an empty space.Candy pink powder coating lends the cover of femininity, playfulness and approachability yet this work seeks to also undermine the patriarchal narratives in play.
*named as a combination of the words ‘north’ and ‘bourne’, north because the road is on the northern side of Canberra and bourne from an old French word meaning limit or boundary
SETTLEMENT #5 has been supported by KDN Group.
About the artist
Elvis Richardson, (she/her) lives and works in Naarm, on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
Treasuring the intimacies of ordinary lives, Elvis Richardson collects and curates personalised objects and imagery she extracts from public sources and re-constructs them as the raw materials of her studio practice. Her works employ kitsch and formalist approaches and mediums to comment on taste, class, the sublime and her own agency as an artist when also trapped in an aspirational exposure-based system of certain economic precarity.
Richardson’s objects and images disrupt the everyday commodification’s of lifestyle to satirically expose the promises, disappointments and contradictions that we all live with.
Recent exhibitions include Force Fields, Kyneton Contemporary Art Triennial (2018); Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2018); Versus Rodin: Bodies across space and time, Art Gallery of South Australia (2017); CCP Declares: On the Social Contract, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2016); Octopus 15: Lost and Profound, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (2015); and Transmission: Legacies of The Television Age, National Gallery of Victoria (2015).
Richardson has been the director of a number of artist run initiatives including First Draft (96/97), Elastic (99/00), Ocular Lab (08/10) DEATH BE KIND (2010/12) and True Estate (2017/18).
Richardson’s works are held in the collections of National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Artbank, City of Fremantle, Moreland Council and the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art at University of Western Australia.
Richardson is the founding editor of CoUNTess a blog publishing data on gender representation in the Australian visual arts sector. The 2016 Countess Report a sector wide bench marking data collection project, and which re-launched as Countess.Report in 2017 in collaboration with Amy Prcevich and Miranda Samuels and producing the updated 2019 Countess Report and upcoming 2023 Countess Report.
- SETTLEMENT #5 (Establishment/TREATY)
- 3000(H) x 2800(W)mm