Previous Exhibition

Carolyn V Watson —
cuttings from a homecoming

Feb 10 – Feb 26, 2022

About the Artist      

cuttings from a homecoming revisits the history of the artist's practice, reconstituting materials and returning to previously resolved pieces. The result is a fresh, unencumbered take on recurrent themes, including extensions of self, personal reflection, the hope of repair and renewal, and the pure delight of chance and studio play.

Carolyn V Watson anchors her practice in a place between the natural and the unknown. Building on a bedrock of authentic objects, her final pieces appear at once familiar but also strange and other-worldly. Watson is a multi-award-winning artist whose work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Australia. Her work is held in international and Australian public and private collections.

Laura Brinin, Curator

Download the exhibition catalogue.

Artwork Notes

Carolyn V Watson's current body of work, cuttings from a homecoming, revisits the history of the artist's practice, reconstituting materials and returning to previously resolved pieces. The result is a fresh, unencumbered take on recurrent themes, including extensions of self, personal reflection, the hope of repair and renewal, and the pure delight of chance and studio play.

At the opening of cuttings from a homecoming, it will be six years since Carolyn has shown in Brisbane. The works in this exhibition come from original forms exhibited interstate and regionally and, in Carolyn's words, "needed to evolve". Now home in Brisbane, these pieces have been rebuilt and regrown to be exhibited anew. The labour-intensive, technically complex process, limned with emotive impressions, draws from the artist's history of making objects which resonate with her personal life, the love of process and the pure joy of repetitive making.

Carolyn approaches the idea of renewal, evolution and propagation (hence, cuttings) to produce a garden of botanical-inspired hybrids. Reconfiguring concepts of the body, hybridised and anthropomorphised with bone, fur, epoxy clay forms etc., cuttings from a homecoming is a self-reflective exercise for the artist. The metamorphosis and reinvention of previous work, the aim of renewal and evolution, is integral to appreciating and grounding context within Carolyn's practice, mirroring the human condition of change we are all faced with.

Botanical hybrids, marks on cut panels, fleshy forms with a clustered facade and growths of organic-like extremities appear to grow from a recipe of organic and synthetic materials. These include; epoxy clay, glass spheres, convex and concave mirror, timber, ink, antler pieces, bone, 23k gold leaf, beeswax, shellac, pastel primer, and reclaimed timber. The works are mounted on plinths or hung on walls to be viewed as separate, anthropomorphic parts of organic and synthetic beings, actively evolving into a new phase of existence. Indeed, the title includes 'cuttings', which presents the act of propagating and regrowing from a whole, and in this case, honours the previous form.

Forming a distinguished part of Carolyn's oeuvre, cuttings from a homecoming is profoundly rooted in the stages of the base, primal reaction and repulsion, recognition of self, and finally, the act of trying to repair and grow through a ritual of making. The visual outcomes of this process may be lavish and intoxicating or sparkly and sober. Or, in the case of this labour-intensive body of work, it may be an odd, quiet garden of harmony.

Laura Brinin, Curator

About the Artist

Carolyn V Watson

For over 20 years, Carolyn V Watson has used her art practice to comprehend and chronicle her life history and experiences. Primarily self-taught, Watson was initially committed to an intense drawing and painting practice before experimenting with three-dimensional making to expand her art and her private ruminations. In contrast to the purposeful looseness and immediacy of her drawings, Watson’s sculptural responses make explicit the contemplative and multilayered nature of her work. Drawn to a grotesque feminine aesthetic, she employs labour-intensive methods such as hand-stitching, carving, moulding and assemblage to draw out physical embodiments of her deep thought processes and highlight connections between her inner world, her home environment, and the natural world. Cornerstones might include personal memory, natural history, gothic imagery, or the lush and unruly garden surrounding her studio.

Watson shifts between two and three-dimensional modes while working, resulting in bodies of work with distinct rhythms that repeat, echo and mimic reference points throughout. Totemic and ritualistic, they exist in the indeterminate space between the familiar and the foreign, the natural and the human-made.
Carolyn V Watson is an alum of the Queensland College of Art. Highly Commended in the inaugural 2021 Lethbridge Landscape Prize and a dual finalist in the 2020 Tom Bass Prize for Figurative Sculpture, she has won multiple awards at the Brisbane Sculpture Festival (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016) and Brisbane Rotary Art Spectacular (Won – 2016, Finalist – 2017), and been a finalist in numerous awards including the Moreton Bay Regional Art Awards (2019, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2011); the Marie Ellis OAM Drawing Prize (2015, 2013, 2010); the Prometheus Visual Art Award (2011, 2009) and the Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Art Award (2015), the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (2012) and the John Fries Memorial Art Prize (2012). Included in the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize in 2008, her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia since 2006.


About the Curator

Laura Brinin

Laura Brinin is a curator of contemporary art, currently facilitating the vibrant program at Side Gallery in the heart of Red Hill, Brisbane. With an unwavering passion for nurturing connections with emerging and established creatives, Laura is dedicated to fostering artistic growth through avenues such as social media, branding, and identity development.

Laura has exhibited her own work both in Australia and overseas, as well as working as an independent freelance curator across Brisbane for over ten years. In her downtime, you can find her reading, travelling, or stalking dogs.