In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard proposes that rooms, the spaces we inhabit, reflect inner rooms; our conscious and subconscious selves. George and Krampien map these interiors, using their subjective experiences to communicate broader, universal feelings of longing, self-doubt, dislocation, self-examination, and anxiety.
Since returning to Australia after living in Portland, Oregon for ten years, Mel George has focused on her nostalgic feelings toward the places she no longer inhabits. The push and pull from the two places she calls home is expressed in Corona Borealis (2014) and Corona Australis (2014). Both works are comprised of a series of gilded oval frames depicting northern and southern hemisphere constellations, respectively. The frames, however, are configured to match a constellation opposing the hemisphere being presented in each frame. Referencing family pictures that tell us who we are genealogically, these works describe a new form of identity based on the places we’ve called home.
Sometimes You Just Have to Lick Batteries (2015), a series of hand drawn and screen-printed self-portraits by Louise Krampien, depict the artist placing a nine-volt battery against her tongue. The action turns the vibrantly hued lines and backgrounds acidic. This abject twist runs throughout Krampien’s new body of work. In Have I Become a ‘Cat Lady’? (2015), Louise strokes an elephant-sized house cat. The cat distractedly toys with Louise’s severed leg as stuffing spills across the floor. The artist explains that she is interested in “how mental uneasiness can express itself physically.” To Krampien, the resulting fantastical self-portraits present “quaintly masochistic” scenarios, the “positives and negatives of life,” as well as “self-examination and self-diagnostics.”