Previous Exhibition

Postcards from here

Feb 2 – Feb 11, 2023

There is a rich history of letter-writing and sending mail to strengthen written connections. Admittedly, our current technological advances have reduced handwritten letters as a form of communication to almost obsolete. We are more likely to receive packages from chain stores, advertising material and government-issued fines rather than handmade cards daily. It is much more efficient to send a text and receive an almost instant response; Interestingly, such a slow, time-consuming method of communication and connection is enjoyable and even exciting. Receiving postcards in the letterbox via snail mail for this project has been a delightful (yet almost entirely foreign) experience, delivered with a lesson in patience. 

Julie has consistently sent handmade postcards to her loved ones for over 15 years. This practice ignited the project to be directed to Side Gallery, and Julie and Jo began the 'Postcards from here' project in 2022, just a little over a year ago. 

Both accomplished interdisciplinary artists, the pair proposed to send postcards to the gallery all year and, in 2023, exhibit the body of work as a whole. The process and logistics alone were fascinating; we could watch the artists creating a daily and weekly creative practice ritual and keep up to date with their latest creative endeavours. We received about two weekly postcards at the gallery last year; at the last count, we received just over 100 postcards. 

Julie and Jo consistently reused, found and made materials to create their postcard substrates to write and paint on. Doing so is a link to their professional practices; It is vital to note the considered nature of the project and appreciate the link to the wabi-sabi and imperfection celebrated in their creative practices. 

The subject matter of the tiny art pieces varies but generally is consistent with the artist's natural environments. Julie and Jo live in the Blue Mountains, surrounded by World Heritage wilderness. Their home life seems idyllic; warm fires, cabin life, an abundance of natural surroundings and the very type of place I would go for a holiday to soak up all that serenity. So it is no wonder their handmade postcards, with snippets of painted still life scenes, pets, people, and their natural environmental surroundings, are like glimpses of a romanticised vacation. Indeed, Julie even sent us postcards from her trip to the UK...

The postcards are small, with only enough room to jot a few lines, making the postcard a tiny but celebrated look at what is happening to those around us. Receiving the mail has been a quiet reprieve between the onslaught of emails, text messages, notifications and TikTok dances, which are by-products of the technological advances on which we so heavily rely for productivity. 

The small, handmade works of art acquired by snail mail forced us to take a breath and reflect on distance, connection, and creative practice and have connected us in the slow pleasure of waiting. The genuine connection of receiving a handmade postcard, painted and sent with intention, that has travelled and found its way to you is hard to explain; it is almost akin to appreciation and relief. Whatever it is, I now understand it is worth the wait. 

Laura Brinin