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The Wattle Room Chapter 9: The Circumspect Toothbrush

The Wattle Room Chapter 9: The Circumspect Toothbrush

Genevieve Carroll
5 March 2022 - 29 March 2022

Genevieve Carroll lives in the remote township of Hill End, the home to a small creative community with a strong core of visual artists. "In this quiet and isolated space she creates poetic, interior worlds” (Lucy Stranger). Her new series deepens and expands her ongoing major work, titled 'The Wattle Room', which debuted at the Paris Cite Internationale in 2008. 

'The Circumspect Toothbrush' is the 9th Chapter in the artist’s evolving visual memoir. Created during a 3-month residency at the Paris Cite, this autobiographical work is not only concerned with memory and repetition, but also investigates the genre of still life painting by challenging our preconceptions of its conventions through sensory experiences of displacement and uncertainty.

In Carroll's still life painting, an object takes on a persona or character due to its playful integration into the fabric of a domestic, lived interior. However, the interior itself resembles and references parts of different settings, via textures, symbols and markings, thereby increasing inferences and tensions within the image. These entangled compositions are underpinned by a poetic and humorous sensibility.

Here, we might question if a jug is a jug at all, for it seems poised and ready to pour, yet layered fragments of colours and forms make external associations, suggesting other roles the vessel might play. Perhaps it is a protagonist in a small scene in someone’s life? Perhaps it functions in the vicissitudes of our mind?

"I have always painted still life, but amongst the landscape in Hill End are hundreds and hundreds of shards of cups and saucers. All those memories, I mean, that was a little scene at a table once. They are not still life; they are metaphors for human presence. The jug is always teetering, is it a short view or is it a long view?  What is going to happen to humankind?" - Genevieve Carroll (quoted in 'Artist Profile', 2020, by Lucy Stranger).

Carroll’s recent work references influential authors and poets, such as contemporary writer, Ali Smith, and romantic poet, John Keats. The creative works of these artists may contrast, yet the cultural bricolage from different art forms and eras create compositions that are shifting and transitional, yet meaningfully interconnected.

Genevieve Carroll was awarded the Central West Regional Artists Award in 2014, the Cowra Regional Art Gallery Award in 2012, and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery Portraiture Prize in 2010. Her work was a Finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award in 2014. Her work is held by public institutions, such as the National Library (Canberra) and Bathurst Regional Gallery and numerous private collections.