I was born in Western Sydney, Australia and raised on family market gardens. At age four I discovered a box of black and white family photographs and negatives under my parents' bed. The box of precious images had emigrated with my parents from Malta after WWII. In it I found the strange and familiar faces of my young parents in an utterly foreign landscape.
The power and value of family photographs inspired me to take up photography at age ten using a small Kodak Instamatic camera my mother gave me.
I studied, lived and worked in Sydney from 1981 until 1995. I worked there as an artist, curator, art administrator, and educator.
In 1995, I moved to the Blue Mountains World Heritage National Park in New South Wales, Australia and continued to work as an artist, and educator. I have lived in the Blue Mountains with my partner, novelist, Trevor Shearston since then. In 1997 our son, musician and writer, Corin Shearston, was born.
Our home has studios, a wood workshop, a vegetable garden, fruit trees and a large native garden.
Career Highlights and Awards
I have exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including in Amsterdam, Berlin, Malta, Tokyo, and other countries.
I received four grants and the Tokyo studio residency from The Australia Council for the Arts, and a Project Grant from the Australian Network for Art and Technology. In 2002, I was awarded a New South Wales Ministry for the Arts, Inaugural Western Sydney Artist Fellowship.
In 2003, I won the Hazelhurst Art Award Major Prize.
In 2006, I was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award from the Western Sydney University.
My artworks are held in private, corporate and public collections in Australia and overseas.
1985 graduate in Bachelor of Visual Arts, Sydney College of the Arts
(photography painting majors); 1996 graduate in Master of Fine Arts (First Class Honours), University of New South Wales (photo-media and multimedia installations); 2012, graduate in Doctorate of Creative Arts, Western Sydney University. My research included indigenous ecologies, sacred architecture, eco-psychology, social ecology, landscape painting and photography, garden design and public art. My doctoral exegesis is entitled, Coming to Ground: the Work of Art in Ecohumanism.
My artwork stems from photography’s relationships with the past, with reality and with painting, and how these relationships resonate with human psyche and memory in the present.
Photographs are like fragments of the past, and remnants of a larger ungraspable and ever-changing living world.
Photography and its particular relationships with painting are the prisms through which I artistically observe, interpret, and reflect on the world. As well as the illusion of realism, photography’s inherent oppositional features have influenced my work in overt and subliminal ways. A silver gelatin photograph evolves from a latent image, and a negative; and a digital image from electronic sensor data. Photography’s other oppositional features include its inter-dependency of light and shadow; as well as philosophical relationships to life and death, identity and recognition, time and continuity.